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Author Topic: My pathetic "kirigma..."  (Read 2130 times) Average Rating: 0
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Heorhij
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« on: September 01, 2009, 05:16:09 PM »

Dear folks,

I am looking for advice regarding the issue of sharing my faith with the Heterodox, especially Protestant people who live nearby and are my good friends.

Over the last ~ 3 years, I have made a number of attempts to talk about Orthodoxy with several of my good, old friends, people whom I know pretty well, and whom I like, and who know and like me. All of these attempts were uniformly a total bust. What I mean is this: not only did I fail to make Orthodoxy attractive to these people, but I also got an impression that my own understanding of our Church, of Her doctrines, and my own belief in these doctrines is progressively diminishing when I am trying to work as a "preacher."

What I see is that Protestant Americans - older and younger, laity and clergy (I tried to talk about Orthodoxy with one Presbyterian and four Baptist ministers), invariably lose interest and avoid me after my attempts to preach to them. Maybe not always entirely avoid, but certainly avoid in anything that is about the Orthodox faith. The point of breakdown comes when they hear from me that we, the Orthodox, believe that the Church is ONE and that they, these Protestant people, are NOT in it.

And it's not like I failed to stress that I do consider them Christians, or even that I do consider them better Christians than myself. They hear this message from me - but the statement that only the Orthodox Church is actually the One, true, original, unadulterated, Christ's, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, visible, tangible, with Her hierarchy and Her Holy Mysteries, with Her uniquely possessing the fullness of faith - makes my Protestant friends COMPLETELY uninterested in ANY further dialogue.

A couple of my friends totally broke all ties with me - stopped answering my messages and never write or call or otherwise seek a new conversation with me. A few others continue to talk with me, but do not talk about anything religious and - unfortunately - sometimes seem to treat me with this special tenderness and care, showing a kind of "this guy is nice, but oh boy, he is not quite sane" attitude. And NONE, NOT A SINGLE PERSON ever attempted to argue rationally, to offer a number of statements proving that this idea that we, the Orthodox, are the only Church, is false. They simply do not consider this idea worthy of arguing with. Something like, perhaps, an idea that the Moon is made of green cheese. Who would argue with that, and what for?

Is it that the folks I happened to talk with are especially comfortable in their faith? They, indeed, look happy; some have great families, other (students) do not have families yet but have a wonderful circle of friends, great relationships with their congregations. But what then - should I specifically look for those who are hurt, mistreated by their Heterodox congregations, and preach only among those? I don't think that this would be fair...

Or maybe I should not talk about Orthodoxy at all? My wife would certainly be thrilled. She sincerely considers talking about religion an idiotic thing to do. I get punches from her for this stupid preaching virtually every day...

Maybe I display some signs of - well, maybe not a total hypocrite, but of an insecure person who tries to prove something to somebody because he himself has doubts? As some of you perhaps know, I do have doubts, I do have a "beef" sometimes with parts of our Orthodox theology that I believe to be antiquated because of their apparent contradictiion to science, and I especially dislike some figures whom certain (particularly Russian) jurisdictions canonized. So, yes, I am a bad Orthodox. But I really never noticed myself that these doubts that I have "spill over" and get visible by my Heterodox friends with whom I converse about Orthodoxy... I sincerely believed that this was not the case...

Anyway, I would be grateful for your comments and insights, as always.

George
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2009, 09:24:58 PM »

No replies. Interesting...
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2009, 09:34:40 PM »

I can't offer too much advice, as I've never been that good at that sort of thing myself.  I think you have to watch for when a person wants to talk about it, or when they seem open to it.  Otherwise, just continue to be a good example of an Orthodox Christian, which I know you already are.  Sometimes that can be the best witness.
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2009, 09:41:10 PM »

As I'm not there, I honestly can't help you and pinpoint to tell what you're doing that's turning them off.  Perhaps your experiences are so far out of the realm of theirs that they can't relate to you.  

I'm a former evangelical and I probably wouldn't have listened to you either (no offense).  It's my opinion that there's very little you can say to a person who is convinced they've got the answers too- and they don't want to hear anything contradicting their views from someone they probably consider to be in a cult.  God is the only one who can change hearts and minds.  Take it from the most hard headed individual to ever encounter Orthodoxy.

That said, I have had a few good conversations with folks about my beliefs- but THEY bring it up- not me.  I never have to bring it up first- people are just curious when they find out I'm Orthodox.
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2009, 09:43:03 PM »

I can't offer too much advice, as I've never been that good at that sort of thing myself.  I think you have to watch for when a person wants to talk about it, or when they seem open to it.  Otherwise, just continue to be a good example of an Orthodox Christian, which I know you already are.  Sometimes that can be the best witness.

But Salpy, NO ONE seems to be "open to it." The exception seems to be when someone is desperate. But then this one can be desperate about anything.

Under "no one," of course, I mean people who are not like you or others whose faith is Orthodox (Eastern or Oriental) because of the fact that they were born into Orthodox families. Other - those who have been born elsewhere - may "read themselves into Orthodoxy," as they put it, which occurs in ~ 0.0000000000000000000000000000001% of the cases (I know, I am exaggerating), or, otherwise, come to Orthodoxy because they have been disappointed in their previous "denomination" (usually because they found it too "liberal"); and then they either cause a fuss because they discover that Orthodoxy is not all that "conservative," or influence on the Orthodox to make them more "conservative..."
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2009, 09:45:14 PM »

As I'm not there, I honestly can't help you and pinpoint to tell what you're doing that's turning them off.  Perhaps your experiences are so far out of the realm of theirs that they can't relate to you.  

I'm a former evangelical and I probably wouldn't have listened to you either (no offense).  It's my opinion that there's very little you can say to a person who is convinced they've got the answers too- and they don't want to hear anything contradicting their views from someone they probably consider to be in a cult.  God is the only one who can change hearts and minds.  Take it from the most hard headed individual to ever encounter Orthodoxy.

That said, I have had a few good conversations with folks about my beliefs- but THEY bring it up- not me.  I never have to bring it up first- people are just curious when they find out I'm Orthodox.

Thank you. But, may I ask, are you sure you are Orthodox?
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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2009, 09:47:50 PM »

As I'm not there, I honestly can't help you and pinpoint to tell what you're doing that's turning them off.  Perhaps your experiences are so far out of the realm of theirs that they can't relate to you.  

I'm a former evangelical and I probably wouldn't have listened to you either (no offense).  It's my opinion that there's very little you can say to a person who is convinced they've got the answers too- and they don't want to hear anything contradicting their views from someone they probably consider to be in a cult.  God is the only one who can change hearts and minds.  Take it from the most hard headed individual to ever encounter Orthodoxy.

That said, I have had a few good conversations with folks about my beliefs- but THEY bring it up- not me.  I never have to bring it up first- people are just curious when they find out I'm Orthodox.

Thank you. But, may I ask, are you sure you are Orthodox?

I could ask you the same. 
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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2009, 10:32:51 PM »

George,

 Forgive me if this sounds short, but it seems that you've answered your own question several times.  Try and read this objectively, as if someone else wrote it.  Smiley  
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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2009, 10:35:23 PM »

I can't offer too much advice, as I've never been that good at that sort of thing myself.  I think you have to watch for when a person wants to talk about it, or when they seem open to it.  Otherwise, just continue to be a good example of an Orthodox Christian, which I know you already are.  Sometimes that can be the best witness.

But Salpy, NO ONE seems to be "open to it." The exception seems to be when someone is desperate. But then this one can be desperate about anything.

Under "no one," of course, I mean people who are not like you or others whose faith is Orthodox (Eastern or Oriental) because of the fact that they were born into Orthodox families. Other - those who have been born elsewhere - may "read themselves into Orthodoxy," as they put it, which occurs in ~ 0.0000000000000000000000000000001% of the cases (I know, I am exaggerating), or, otherwise, come to Orthodoxy because they have been disappointed in their previous "denomination" (usually because they found it too "liberal"); and then they either cause a fuss because they discover that Orthodoxy is not all that "conservative," or influence on the Orthodox to make them more "conservative..."

I know the frustration.  I don't think anyone has ever converted through anything that I have ever said or done.  I used to think that maybe there was something very wrong with me as a Christian (there probably is  Smiley ) but then I realized that maybe this was just not how God wanted to use me.  Also, I came to realize that my desire to make converts was at least partially based on my own pride.  (I'm not saying that is the case with you.  I'm just talking about me.)

I think that if God has been using me, it is through the book service I have been running at my church.  Even then, though, I don't think any conversions have been made.  If anything, the book service just helps to strengthen the faith of those who already believe.  That, however, can be an important thing.

Maybe you need to think of other ways in which God can use you.  Everyone has a different calling.  (I Cor. 12:4-7)
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« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2009, 10:36:25 PM »

As I'm not there, I honestly can't help you and pinpoint to tell what you're doing that's turning them off.  Perhaps your experiences are so far out of the realm of theirs that they can't relate to you.  

I'm a former evangelical and I probably wouldn't have listened to you either (no offense).  It's my opinion that there's very little you can say to a person who is convinced they've got the answers too- and they don't want to hear anything contradicting their views from someone they probably consider to be in a cult.  God is the only one who can change hearts and minds.  Take it from the most hard headed individual to ever encounter Orthodoxy.


That said, I have had a few good conversations with folks about my beliefs- but THEY bring it up- not me.  I never have to bring it up first- people are just curious when they find out I'm Orthodox.
Thank you. But, may I ask, are you sure you are Orthodox?

I could ask you the same. 

I don't know. I have been raised secular humanist by a family of loyal servants of the former USSR, baptised Presbyterian in an aging-hippie ultraliberal feel-good buddy-Jesus charity-obsessed, theology-ultraignorant PC-USA congregation, and chrismated "Orthodox" in a Milan Synod heretic, splinter, scismatic pseudo-Orthodox (as many will put it) congregation. But I was born in Ukraine and I felt Orthodox all my life... all my silly "God-searching" nonwithsatanding...
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« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2009, 10:39:39 PM »

George,

 Forgive me if this sounds short, but it seems that you've answered your own question several times.  Try and read this objectively, as if someone else wrote it.  Smiley  

Gabriel, thank you, you are a very good man, but my question still remains: just why are all these people I've talked to so happy in their faith and so confident that what I am trying to tell them is GIBBERISH???
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« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2009, 10:46:56 PM »

I think one big road block to sharing Orthodoxy with protestants is that they simply don't understand what you are talking about the majority of the time. There is a different language within orthodoxy. There is a different language within protestantism as well. So you end up talking over each others heads. There is a priest that is coming to speak precisely on sharing your orthodox faith at my parish next week. I have no idea what he will say, but if you like I can take my video camera and try to burn it to disc for you. 
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« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2009, 10:48:00 PM »

I can't offer too much advice, as I've never been that good at that sort of thing myself.  I think you have to watch for when a person wants to talk about it, or when they seem open to it.  Otherwise, just continue to be a good example of an Orthodox Christian, which I know you already are.  Sometimes that can be the best witness.

But Salpy, NO ONE seems to be "open to it." The exception seems to be when someone is desperate. But then this one can be desperate about anything.

Under "no one," of course, I mean people who are not like you or others whose faith is Orthodox (Eastern or Oriental) because of the fact that they were born into Orthodox families. Other - those who have been born elsewhere - may "read themselves into Orthodoxy," as they put it, which occurs in ~ 0.0000000000000000000000000000001% of the cases (I know, I am exaggerating), or, otherwise, come to Orthodoxy because they have been disappointed in their previous "denomination" (usually because they found it too "liberal"); and then they either cause a fuss because they discover that Orthodoxy is not all that "conservative," or influence on the Orthodox to make them more "conservative..."

I know the frustration.  I don't think anyone has ever converted through anything that I have ever said or done.  I used to think that maybe there was something very wrong with me as a Christian (there probably is  Smiley ) but then I realized that maybe this was just not how God wanted to use me.  Also, I came to realize that my desire to make converts was at least partially based on my own pride.  (I'm not saying that is the case with you.  I'm just talking about me.)

I think that if God has been using me, it is through the book service I have been running at my church.  Even then, though, I don't think any conversions have been made.  If anything, the book service just helps to strengthen the faith of those who already believe.  That, however, can be an important thing.

Maybe you need to think of other ways in which God can use you.  Everyone has a different calling.  (I Cor. 12:4-7)

Thank you, Salpy. I'll think about it.

Maybe God wants to use me as this "sciency" gadfly. But that still does not answer my question: why is it that the most secure, happy, balanced, well-living Protestants who surround me here in a university town in the Deep South of the USA are who they are - namely, secure, happy, balanced, well-living folks, fathers and mothers of great families, or friends of great friends (and most definitely, furure fathers and mothers of great families..); and why, whatever my calling is, nothing and no one seem to convert them to what you and I think is the right path?
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« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2009, 10:50:22 PM »

I think one big road block to sharing Orthodoxy with protestants is that they simply don't understand what you are talking about the majority of the time. There is a different language within orthodoxy. There is a different language within protestantism as well. So you end up talking over each others heads. There is a priest that is coming to speak precisely on sharing your orthodox faith at my parish next week. I have no idea what he will say, but if you like I can take my video camera and try to burn it to disc for you. 

Yes, dear Quin, perhaps you are right, and yes, thank you, I'll appreciate your disc... Could you e-mail it to me (gpinchuk@as.muw.edu)? Thank you.
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« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2009, 10:58:21 PM »

I know the biggest issues my family have had are the ideas of salvation and hell, they are so different within orthodoxy. But the difference is quite refreshing to me. Orthodoxy lends itself to less politicizing as well. It is (in my opinion) easy to have a wide array of political views and yet still remain Orthodox. So you can't stereotype as person as "Orthodox" simply by their political views. You likely puzzle them because you are as open minded as you are about issues comparatively to other Christians they know. The other item I think that is puzzling to many is the room for answering "I don't know." Orthodoxy is not opposed to mystery. So there are plenty of areas of the faith that are open to opinion, and that would make the average protestant's head spin.
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« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2009, 11:01:46 PM »

I know the biggest issues my family has had is the idea of salvation and the idea of hell, they are so different within orthodoxy. But the difference is quite refreshing. Orthodoxy lends itself to less politicizing as well. It is (in my opinion) easy to have a wide array of political views and yet still remain Orthodox. So you can't stereotype as person as "Orthodox" simply by their political views. You likely puzzle them because you are as open minded as you are about issues comparatively to other Christians they know. The other item I think that is puzzling to many is the room for answering "I don't know." Orthodoxy is not opposed to mystery. So there are plenty of areas of the faith that are open to opinion and that would make the average protestant's head spin.

Absolutely agree with every point you made. But my problem is that when I say, "We, the Orthodox Church, are THE Church and there is no other" - immediately there is this wall of a complete bewilderment and a compassion to this guy who "does not know what he is talking about" and is, obviously, insane...
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« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2009, 11:04:16 PM »

But that still does not answer my question: why is it that the most secure, happy, balanced, well-living Protestants who surround me here in a university town in the Deep South of the USA are who they are - namely, secure, happy, balanced, well-living folks, fathers and mothers of great families, or friends of great friends (and most definitely, furure fathers and mothers of great families..); and why, whatever my calling is, nothing and no one seem to convert them to what you and I think is the right path?

You got to realize that even the apostles didn't convert everyone they met.  For every convert, there were hundreds who hardened their hearts.  Even many (perhaps most) who heard Christ Himself preach were not converted.  Christ spoke of the "narrow way."  People have free will and we live in a very fallen world.  Don't let it shake your faith.
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« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2009, 11:09:32 PM »

Maybe God wants to use me as this "sciency" gadfly.

That is kind of cool.   Smiley   I always love it when a scientist shows faith in God.  So many people think scientists have to be atheists, like they are too smart for God, or something.  By being a scientist who is also an Orthodox Christian, you are showing others that one can be an academic or an intellectual while still remaining a traditional Christian.  That may not make converts, but it definitely helps to strengthen those who are already in the faith.
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« Reply #18 on: September 01, 2009, 11:35:10 PM »

When I was nowhere near the Orthodox path, I remember being defensive about people trying to share the Gospel with me because they were trying to convert me. It made me feel like a number or a target, not a person. Also, when I heard the words  "THIS church is the TRUE church!" or "Christianity is the ONLY way!", it made me feel like I was talking to someone with their nose in the air about MY beliefs, whether or not that was their intention.

Personally, I don't get why anyone should try to convert someone who is already Christian to Orthodoxy. We may have the fullness of faith, but that doesn't mean non-Orthodox Christians are starving for God. I can understand the urge to share Orthodoxy, but I feel the Two Greatest Commandments are of more use to people than trying to convert them. Jesus is here in Orthodoxy, but He's also in Protestantism. God gave us the instinct to seek Him out, and if a particular individual is unhappy in a certain branch of Christianity, God will lead them.

George, maybe you should try to get a newspaper column if you wish to spread Orthodoxy. That's what I intend to do here @ college. Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: September 01, 2009, 11:43:22 PM »

George, not everyone has the gift of preaching.

The only best way to interest people in Orthodoxy is live by example without looking like a hypocrite.   Tongue

As an example, I can be an emotive person and this forum plus my weekly trivia league have helped me minimize my emotiveness, making myself a better example to others.

Kindness (without being naive or Pollyannaish) sets the best example.  All anger and hostility do is generate more anger and hostility.  Sometimes, the line has to be drawn.
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« Reply #20 on: September 01, 2009, 11:56:43 PM »


Kindness (without being naive or Pollyannaish) sets the best example.  All anger and hostility do is generate more anger and hostility.  Sometimes, the line has to be drawn.

SolEX, Yes!!! Cheesy
Kindness is a part of love, the Ultimate Gift!
This week, I was thinking that if love was able to create the myriad of good and complex things that Earth has to offer, then it must mean that love builds up, love creates, love sustains. We have seen what anger and hostility leads to. One needs only to open a history book.
Yay SolEX!! Hehe! Grin
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« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2009, 12:22:30 AM »

Personally, I don't get why anyone should try to convert someone who is already Christian to Orthodoxy.

Honestly, I don't really think so either, at least not at this point.  But that probably has to do more with the fact that I am still new to the faith myself, and I feel like I need to let deeper roots grow before I dare to open my mouth.
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« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2009, 12:39:14 AM »

Personally, I don't get why anyone should try to convert someone who is already Christian to Orthodoxy.

Honestly, I don't really think so either, at least not at this point.  But that probably has to do more with the fact that I am still new to the faith myself, and I feel like I need to let deeper roots grow before I dare to open my mouth.

I understand your point, AL. I need to grow deeper roots as well! However, from my current perspective, it feels wrong to try to convert someone who might already have a deep faith in Christ, even if Protestant. Converting often speaks of people all too easily becoming targets, losing their personhood in the act of "trying to win them to our side". I think the best way to plant the seed of Orthodoxy is through habit. Sharing the Gospel here in America is a tricky thing today...  Undecided
However, George's active sharing might still find fertile soil, if the person needs a deeper relationship with Christ, hence the term "fertile". Maybe George's friends feel uncomfortable with the mere act of someone trying to convert them. That is something for George to decide, but maybe taking a more passive route, like a newspaper column, might suit George's gentle nature. Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2009, 12:52:04 AM »

Most people know that I am becoming Orthodox.  For now, that is enough.
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« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2009, 01:15:27 AM »

Dear folks,

I am looking for advice regarding the issue of sharing my faith with the Heterodox, especially Protestant people who live nearby and are my good friends.

Lets look at some things together and see where we can improve (I say "we" because I often make the same mistakes when witnessing to others).
  
What I mean is this: not only did I fail to make Orthodoxy attractive to these people, but I also got an impression that my own understanding of our Church, of Her doctrines, and my own belief in these doctrines is progressively diminishing when I am trying to work as a "preacher."
George, trying to explain Orthodoxy to those who have little or no exposure is almost like trying to explain the taste of an apple to someone who's never tasted an apple; you can talk and talk and get close but sooner or later the listener must take a bite for themselves.  Don't consider yourself a failure simply because you can't do the impossible; I don't think any of us can do this.

 
What I see is that Protestant Americans - ... invariably lose interest and avoid me after my attempts to preach to them. Maybe not always entirely avoid, but certainly avoid in anything that is about the Orthodox faith. The point of breakdown comes when they hear from me that we, the Orthodox, believe that the Church is ONE and that they, these Protestant people, are NOT in it.
If you put yourself in their position, you can see where hearing this would put people off and on the defensive.  It's obvious to you and I that this is true because we've accepted but they haven't.  I've long ago stopped saying this.


And it's not like I failed to stress that I do consider them Christians, or even that I do consider them better Christians than myself. They hear this message from me - but the statement that only the Orthodox Church is actually the One, true, original, unadulterated, Christ's, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, visible, tangible, with Her hierarchy and Her Holy Mysteries, with Her uniquely possessing the fullness of faith - makes my Protestant friends COMPLETELY uninterested in ANY further dialogue.
Forgive me here, but this is a poor approach; we can't tell people they're wrong and expect them to be open to the rest of our words.  Again, I think when we put ourselves in their shoes, we can understand why this might come across as offensive at worst and callous at best.

A couple of my friends totally broke all ties with me - stopped answering my messages and never write or call or otherwise seek a new conversation with me. A few others continue to talk with me, but do not talk about anything religious and - unfortunately - sometimes seem to treat me with this special tenderness and care, showing a kind of "this guy is nice, but oh boy, he is not quite sane" attitude. And NONE, NOT A SINGLE PERSON ever attempted to argue rationally, to offer a number of statements proving that this idea that we, the Orthodox, are the only Church, is false. They simply do not consider this idea worthy of arguing with.
In a sense, they're correct.  This is something that I have to learn over and over again but it's simply not productive to argue about it.  

Is it that the folks I happened to talk with are especially comfortable in their faith?
Maybe so.  Undecided  But I have to remind myself that a person's faith is intensely personal to them just as mine is to me.  

Or maybe I should not talk about Orthodoxy at all? My wife would certainly be thrilled. She sincerely considers talking about religion an idiotic thing to do. I get punches from her for this stupid preaching virtually every day...
I wouldn't stop talking about it, George, but at the same time your wife is a gift from God.  Maybe you should just "live" it around her rather than "preaching" to her.  Forgive me for intruding into a very private part of your life.

Maybe I display some signs of - well, maybe not a total hypocrite, but of an insecure person who tries to prove something to somebody because he himself has doubts?
George, everyone of us has doubts from time to time and sometimes we can get "caught" on a bad day, so to speak.  As Salpy said, many people walked away after hearing the apostles.  Many walked away from Christ Himself.  We cannot beat ourselves up when others are not receptive.  Sometimes we ourselves are not receptive.  Have you ever said to yourself "I just don't want to hear any of it today."?  God forgive me, but I have.  I think the best thing for us laity is to try our best to live our faith.  When others are ready for the Truth, the Holy Spirit will work through you for them.  I think if we go to church and participate as much as we can in the Sacraments and read the Bible, all will be well.  Of coarse, talking all this over with your priest will do wonders for your soul and mind.  Wink

 Love ya, brother!!  Smiley Smiley

 Gabriel
 

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« Reply #25 on: September 02, 2009, 01:45:02 AM »

Eh...you said it better than me, G. Embarrassed Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: September 02, 2009, 01:56:02 AM »


Kindness (without being naive or Pollyannaish) sets the best example.  All anger and hostility do is generate more anger and hostility.  Sometimes, the line has to be drawn.

SolEX, Yes!!! Cheesy
Kindness is a part of love, the Ultimate Gift!
This week, I was thinking that if love was able to create the myriad of good and complex things that Earth has to offer, then it must mean that love builds up, love creates, love sustains.

Love overcomes.  We must love those who hate and persecute us and we must love those who disagree with us.  I'll point out 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 as an excellent resource.

We have seen what anger and hostility leads to. One needs only to open a history book.
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« Reply #27 on: September 02, 2009, 07:22:49 AM »

Dear ones, you made me think a lot. Thank you all so much!

It is very true that some people walked away BECAUSE they heard the "kirigma." So, yes, obviously, it is not always a fault of those who did the preaching... Many walked from Christ Himself (John 6:60, 66).

And it is also very true - as Gabriel put it so well - that one's faith may be as intensely personal to this one as mine is to me. It is perhaps a broader and deeper matter than just being too comfortable and/or spiritually lazy to listen to something as new and seemingly odd as this exotic Orthodoxy.Smiley

Newspaper column, yes... that a great idea. Or maybe a blog. Actually, the Presbyterian minister I used to talk with about Orthodoxy once suggested that I might start a blog, documenting my experience and sharing my thoughts.

Thank you all again! By your prayers,

G.
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« Reply #28 on: September 02, 2009, 10:46:36 AM »

I know what you mean. Fortunately, all of my Protestant friends (who, in fact, are web-friends) never treated me like the crazy guy (at least not publicly).
I've had some encounters with Catholics and Protestants on YouTube though. They don't like the Orthodox, because we're very arrogant about the trueness of our Church. When debating with other Christians, I too become a fanatic sometimes and they stop looking at my arguments. They rather see how awful I am at preaching.

Most Protestants (especially non-denominational ones) are the typical "Jesus loves you and died for your sins! Only faith can save you!"-Christians. You can clearly see that they are attached to their Church mostly emotionally, rather than because they believe that it's correct.
That means that you have to approach them not as the true and infallible Church, but as the Church that holds the all-loving Father who does not condemn people to Hell nor punishes them. If they are not Christians who wish to see atheists and Muslims burning in Hell, they will listen to you.

P.S.: Maybe you can call yourself Herohij, Awful Preacher II. Cheesy
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« Reply #29 on: September 02, 2009, 10:56:03 AM »

I've had the very same response to this issue as you, George. My friends are all very much firm believers in the "Invisible Church". They believe that the church is not an institution, but consists only of true, repentant "called out" people the world over- whether or not one is a member of this or that church makes not one whit of difference to them (although of course, they'd prefer  if it was their church!). When they find out the stance of the Orthodox Church, they become horrified and defensive and start talking in front of me from that time on about "the heresy of the one true church theory", and how false and untrue is this position etc. etc. Nothing offends and horrifies them more than this doctrine, apparently. I myself have softened somewhat on this issue and no longer talk about it with them for the most part. I decided to let God be the judge-it's too exhausting for me to worry about or try to push the point on those who obviously think it smacks of cultism. I remember hearing Orthodox people stating this to me when I was still of my former religion, and I remember how angry it made me feel-and I was alway at least half-way convinced that Truth was in Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #30 on: September 02, 2009, 11:16:57 AM »

No replies. Interesting...

No knowing what kirigma  was supposed to mean (I think you mean kerygma), it didn't catch my attention.

I can't tell from your post how these things come up.  I usually let them bring it up.  If they ask "do you belong to a Bible believing Church," I reply "I belong to THE Bible believing Church." When they make the claims of the "Invisible Church," I point out that "the Bible calls the Church the Body of Christ, and He's not the Invisible Man."  Luke 24: 36While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” 40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate it in their presence. 44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Those Epistles have their address on them, to Churches which still exist.  They are us.
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« Reply #31 on: September 02, 2009, 11:34:22 AM »

I can't offer too much advice, as I've never been that good at that sort of thing myself.  I think you have to watch for when a person wants to talk about it, or when they seem open to it.  Otherwise, just continue to be a good example of an Orthodox Christian, which I know you already are.  Sometimes that can be the best witness.

But Salpy, NO ONE seems to be "open to it." The exception seems to be when someone is desperate. But then this one can be desperate about anything.

Under "no one," of course, I mean people who are not like you or others whose faith is Orthodox (Eastern or Oriental) because of the fact that they were born into Orthodox families. Other - those who have been born elsewhere - may "read themselves into Orthodoxy," as they put it, which occurs in ~ 0.0000000000000000000000000000001% of the cases (I know, I am exaggerating), or, otherwise, come to Orthodoxy because they have been disappointed in their previous "denomination" (usually because they found it too "liberal"); and then they either cause a fuss because they discover that Orthodoxy is not all that "conservative," or influence on the Orthodox to make them more "conservative..."

I know the frustration.  I don't think anyone has ever converted through anything that I have ever said or done.  I used to think that maybe there was something very wrong with me as a Christian (there probably is  Smiley ) but then I realized that maybe this was just not how God wanted to use me.  Also, I came to realize that my desire to make converts was at least partially based on my own pride.  (I'm not saying that is the case with you.  I'm just talking about me.)

I think that if God has been using me, it is through the book service I have been running at my church.  Even then, though, I don't think any conversions have been made.  If anything, the book service just helps to strengthen the faith of those who already believe.  That, however, can be an important thing.

Maybe you need to think of other ways in which God can use you.  Everyone has a different calling.  (I Cor. 12:4-7)

I would second that last remark.

You also don't know really if you sowed seed on rocky ground. I've know people who have found out that some hopeless cases they had written off.  Someone I know, who last I heard was headed for a monastery, had emailed the person he fought with a vengeance against Orthodoxy in South Africa.  Having not talked, because of the arguments, for 6 six years, he had to identify himself, and tell him that he had converted.  The South African was rather shocked.

A year before my conversion, I'd burn icons. Shocked And no, I wasn't disappointed in the ELCA. If I was, it would have been easy to go to the Vatican whose school I was in.  Disappointment came only with every bit of news of what ELCA has been up to ever since I left.

and remember, St. Monica not only had to wait decades for the conversion of her son, but also of her abusive husband.
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« Reply #32 on: September 02, 2009, 11:37:56 AM »

I think one big road block to sharing Orthodoxy with protestants is that they simply don't understand what you are talking about the majority of the time. There is a different language within orthodoxy. There is a different language within protestantism as well. So you end up talking over each others heads. There is a priest that is coming to speak precisely on sharing your orthodox faith at my parish next week. I have no idea what he will say, but if you like I can take my video camera and try to burn it to disc for you. 

Yes, dear Quin, perhaps you are right, and yes, thank you, I'll appreciate your disc... Could you e-mail it to me (gpinchuk@as.muw.edu)? Thank you.

Heohij, PM your email address and disable this one here now (gpinchuk[at]as.muw.edu) otherwise the 'bots will get you.
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« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2009, 12:19:55 PM »

I've had the very same response to this issue as you, George. My friends are all very much firm believers in the "Invisible Church". They believe that the church is not an institution, but consists only of true, repentant "called out" people the world over- whether or not one is a member of this or that church makes not one whit of difference to them (although of course, they'd prefer  if it was their church!).

(sings) "And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love..yes, they'll knoooow we are Christians by our loooove!" Grin
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