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militantsparrow
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« on: September 18, 2009, 10:38:17 PM »

I am drawn to the Eastern Orthodox Church. I mean that quite literally. I can’t explain it really. I am honestly struggling coming up with words for what I’m trying to describe. Its like I’m falling in love. Like I am uncovering a truth I somehow always knew.

My question is: Is this normal? Do other people have this same sense in their conversion experiences? It seems to me that I have seen someone mention it before. What was it like for you?
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2009, 04:07:04 PM »

Like I had found something very old...something that had been hidden from the eyes of the world.
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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2009, 09:43:40 AM »

This is how everyone feels when he finds out that God is not evil. Smiley
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militantsparrow
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2009, 10:58:58 AM »

When I decided I needed to actively pursue God and live the way he wanted me to, I began looking for His church. Through entirely intellectual reasons, I decided on the Catholic church.

But my draw to Orthodoxy, though I can intellectualize some of the arguments, its not an intellectual thing. Its more of a gentle spiritual pull.
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2009, 02:02:01 PM »

When I decided I needed to actively pursue God and live the way he wanted me to, I began looking for His church. Through entirely intellectual reasons, I decided on the Catholic church.

But my draw to Orthodoxy, though I can intellectualize some of the arguments, its not an intellectual thing. Its more of a gentle spiritual pull.

Same here, brother!  Grin
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2009, 10:35:06 PM »

As a history buff, wat drew me to the Holy Orthodox Church was the authenticity of its historical claims. That of course is also what led me from protestantism to Catholicism, from Conciliar Catholicism to traditional Catholicism, and then I heard of this online radio show called Journeys to Orthodoxy....
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Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth help us to walk the way of Life, which is Christ Jesus.

St. Cyril, St. Leo, and St. Severus pray that the Church may be united and one, Eastern and Oriental.St. Issac the Syrian, pray that Assyria would return to the Holy Church. St. Gregory, pray for Rom
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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2009, 12:36:57 AM »

yes, this is very natural. however, i would note that the comparison to (romantic) love that i'm picking up in your tone may be more approrpriate than you realize. this isn't necessarily a good thing.

i came from the protestant perspective to orthodoxy and it was a whirlwind romance, stemming largely from the historical appeal and intellectual correctness of the doctrine/beliefs.  freeing myself from sola scriptura, embracing apostolic succession and Tradition, icons, the fullness of the faith, etc. was wonderful.

like all romantic love, you can hit a wall and things can become routine, or you wonder why after 4, 10 or 20  years you don't have that same passion that you had at first. this, in my experience, can lead to confusion and disappointment. is something wrong? was it a phase? all i can say is persevere and put in the work and you will have more reward than you could possibly imagine. actaully, getting PAST that point asap is recommended (again, in my opinion) b/c at first you are focused on all the things orthodoxy is that catholicism and protestantism is NOT, and while those things DO matter (don't get me wrong) it's best to move beyond those issues and focus on your life as an orthodox christian. it's hard to do that when you are just sitting in the liturgy feeling proud of your intellectualy "rightness" and choice of affiliation.

i realize i'm making a lot of assumptions here, but i suspect that this experience (or something like it) would ring bells for many converts. but please enjoy this time, and pray that it lasts forever- it may. it is wonderful to encounter the mystery of the Church for the first time...i just want to throw out some ideas that may mean something to you down the road. your mileage may vary.  Wink

edited to add: i don't mean to sound discouraging in any way. i love my faith and am so happy that i made the decision to answer God's call to orthodoxy. i just wanted to address the issue of "convert's zeal" and add some perspective on how things change for some over time following embracing the faith.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2009, 12:40:38 AM by android » Logged
GammaRay
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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2009, 07:08:45 AM »

Very strange. I thought that people choose Orthodoxy because its dogmas make sense and have a logicalfoundation.
I always thought that "romantics" go with Protestants (mostly non-denominational ones), singing Christian rock in the "temples" and all...
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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2009, 07:49:47 AM »

Very strange. I thought that people choose Orthodoxy because its dogmas make sense and have a logicalfoundation.

This is true too. And I'll certainly have to appease my intellectual side--I think the radio show Pilgrim mentioned might help with that. But what I feel is not purely intellectual--its something more.
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2009, 10:15:18 AM »

Android,
I appreciate the cautionary advice. I will heed it. It makes sense.
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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2009, 11:38:58 AM »

I am drawn to the Eastern Orthodox Church. I mean that quite literally. I can’t explain it really. I am honestly struggling coming up with words for what I’m trying to describe. Its like I’m falling in love. Like I am uncovering a truth I somehow always knew.

My question is: Is this normal? Do other people have this same sense in their conversion experiences? It seems to me that I have seen someone mention it before. What was it like for you?

I tend to be a very logical "think-y" person, and not at all romantic. (I'd rather have a gift certificate to a bookstore than flowers on our anniversary. Of course, this is a huge relief to my husband, who doesn't have to struggle with the gift problem anymore!)
But I also felt this way, like discovering that something you dreamed about or read about really exists. This is that feeling of coming home that many converts report - that feeling of "yes, of course, I knew it was that all along!"
But as the old saying goes, love is an action verb, not a feeling. After the honeymoon, you settle down to real life. The real joke on me is that "Orthodox real life" is more amazing, exciting, wonderful, etc. etc. than I ever dared to hope.
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2009, 11:52:51 AM »

I tend to be a very logical "think-y" person, and not at all romantic.
Grin Me too. That's why I asked this question. Its a new experience for me.
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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2009, 04:06:46 PM »

Back at college, I used to get on the nerves of the guys in the Psych Dept. by always scoring very near dead center of their left-brain/right-brain tests.

Similarly, and since others mentioned it, I find that Orthodoxy appeals to me because it calls to my heart as well as my mind, which leads me to believe that the true calling is somewhere in between, to my soul.
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2009, 02:15:18 PM »

I find that Orthodoxy appeals to me because it calls to my heart as well as my mind, which leads me to believe that the true calling is somewhere in between, to my soul.

I perceive that, you, sir, are a poet! Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2009, 07:13:28 AM »

But I also felt this way, like discovering that something you dreamed about or read about really exists. This is that feeling of coming home that many converts report - that feeling of "yes, of course, I knew it was that all along!"
That! I've seen many Protestants trying to escape the idol of the punishing and evil God and, without noticing, they turn out to have some very Orthodox views (although they may not be able to back them up from the Scripture). Maybe this is what people refer to as the Holy Spirit. Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2009, 08:57:23 AM »

Oh yes there is a draw, and while logic and intellect abound in Orthodoxy, I do think there is a Romantic pull as well. We have forms of those intellectual things in protestantism- and then we tend to try and take the edge off of it by stressing a "personal relationship" with God. I'm all for a personal relationship, but the God I kept running into was evidently very angry, and apparently He had saved me not for my sake, but for His. Sure He loved me, but it was secondary- this version of God loved Himself firstly and foremost. As me, and even my wife (who is the brakes) approach Orthodoxy, we have been seeing a God who is Self-denying and Self-emptying- now if that isn't a romantic draw I don't know what is. I appreciated what android cautioned about romance, certainly, but I can't just ignore it either; I still feel romantic towards my wife- sure more at times and less others- but overall a very strong and consistant pull.

The interesting thing- as has been pointed out, I know protestants who really believe in that God who is love- yet for their teaching many cannot articulate that so well because of the intellectual burden which is skewed towards the idea of a self-concerned God. Of course one asks why God can be self-concerned? Answer is usually a shrug and "Because He is Holy". What a sad and limited view of Holiness. In any case, this is just one of the draws, but it's an immense one.
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« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2009, 10:26:58 AM »

I am drawn to the Eastern Orthodox Church. I mean that quite literally. I can’t explain it really. I am honestly struggling coming up with words for what I’m trying to describe. Its like I’m falling in love. Like I am uncovering a truth I somehow always knew.
I feel the same way. I grew up Presbyterian and I never felt religion had much meaning in my life. I thought church was boring and pointless. My wife kind of felt the same way. We've been married for 7 years and I don't think we've ever gone to church more than two Sundays in a row. We haven't really been going to church at all for the past 4 years or so. But when we found the Orthodox Church I felt very drawn to it. I've never felt this way about my faith before. Now we've been going to church for almost two months straight. I kind of look forward to going to church now. I'm still not exactly sure why since this is so unlike me and anything I've experienced before.

I tend to be a very logically minded person so this is a very new experience. A friend of mine whose personality is very similar to mine is an atheist (I've come very close to becoming one as well in the past). It's frustrating for me to not be able to articulate how I feel about this to him. His mindset is 'if you can't test it scientifically, it's not important or it doesn't exist.' The only thing I could really tell him is that he just doesn't 'get it,' but I know he would never accept an answer like that.

My biggest fear is the newness will wear off and it will turn into drudgery but I sincerely hope it does not.
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« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2009, 02:45:41 PM »

His mindset is 'if you can't test it scientifically, it's not important or it doesn't exist.'

Is he married? Does he have children? Can he prove their love for him or his love for them scientifically?
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« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2009, 09:32:04 PM »

I am drawn to the Eastern Orthodox Church. I mean that quite literally. I can’t explain it really. I am honestly struggling coming up with words for what I’m trying to describe. Its like I’m falling in love. Like I am uncovering a truth I somehow always knew.

My question is: Is this normal? Do other people have this same sense in their conversion experiences? It seems to me that I have seen someone mention it before. What was it like for you?


I can understand your experiences very well.  I also was drawn, or more like pulled by a leash lol.  I can't really explain it either.  I do know as I lead Bible studies at the church I attended I seemed to always give the orthodox view but refused to see the truth.   Then one day, I still remember the moment, I was leading another study with a video and it was about God given authority (it was speaking of national governments though) and history when I was struck with a profound truth.  The Holy Spirit doesn't just guide individuals, but is trust worthy to guide the whole church by the authority of Jesus himself whom chooses His leaders and sheppards for His Church.   In a moment of time I realized my error, my wound which is deep and wide in everyone in western christianity, my lack of trust in my God, my fighting against the pull of our Lord. 

I pray that my wife will feel the pull, I already know she feels something is wrong at our old church which is still her church.

The hardest part is that I deeply love everyone in my old church, it was a church that truly loved each other and are running hard as they can to be like our Lord but the wound in their heart (which I had also) keeps them from fully experiencing God and knowing God and I grieve for them.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2009, 09:47:48 PM by Mivac » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2009, 10:17:10 AM »

The hardest part is that I deeply love everyone in my old church, it was a church that truly loved each other and are running hard as they can to be like our Lord but the wound in their heart (which I had also) keeps them from fully experiencing God and knowing God and I grieve for them.

This is what I felt also. Believe me, I kept trying to find the loopholes! But if I was honest and faced facts, I always seemed to run smackdab into the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2009, 11:02:45 PM »

I tend to be a very logical "think-y" person, and not at all romantic.
Grin Me too. That's why I asked this question. Its a new experience for me.


Grace and Peace,

It is well for any new convert to seek out a spiritual father. I recall my own conversion to the Ancient Faith of the Roman Church and it's classic ascetic spirituality (largely St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Fr. Lorenzo Scupoli, St. Francis de Sales, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa, etc) fell in love with the wealth of spiritual vigor in the Western Tradition but without the guidance of a spiritual father I soon grew in spiritual pride and my zeal became a tool for the Devil. St. Gregory the Great once advised a convert to seek out a spiritual father to aid in their spiritual direction. He said that although there have been fathers who had been instructed directly from the Holy Spirit he advised most to seek a spiritual father because it was the duty of a spiritual father to curb the intemperate zeal which welled up within a convert. From my own experience I have found that intemperate zeal is the ugliest byproduct of a passionate conversion. Because of the lukewarmness of many of the masses in modernity converts often equate intemperate and passionate zeal with 'faith' and actually do grave harm to their soul and their own spiritual growth even if that growth is within the very Church of the Living God. Personally far too many converts grasp for far too many things which captivate them on their journey. Much of the real journey of faith is 'interior' and is meant to remain there 'unspoken'. A mystery that does not lead to ignorance by illumination and gladness and peace. The spiritual journey is one of deep discovery and openness to the Divine. The fact that you are still on the journey of this discovery is a testiment that you are not finished and have not found the rest you require for the 'real' work of of the faith (i.e. the pursuit of holiness and union with God). Exercise discernment over yourself and be ever viligliant over your passions and they will instruct you wisely. Grasp for exterior authorities and you will ever be a mislead for our faith is an encounter with the Divine and that encounter is like the wind going as it will, like the spirit. Doctrines, Dogmas, light the spiritual landscape but don't mistake them for the goal of our faith spiritual union with God Himself. Use them as lights to light your way but not as posts to prop oneself up over others. Doing this will not provide furtherance along the Way but will distract you from further growth. It is far better for us all to experience these spiritual truths firsthand than to dwell on articulations secondhand. I can offer you no greater advice than this.

Peace and May God have Mercy on us all. Amen.
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« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2009, 11:14:50 PM »

Thank you, ignatius. I appreciate your advice and find much wisdom in it.
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