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Author Topic: spending time with a protestant mothers' group - okay?  (Read 1502 times) Average Rating: 0
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kmm
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« on: October 18, 2009, 03:22:30 PM »

I'm curious about your opinions regarding this - whether or not my involvement with this is a good idea or not and why.

A good friend of mine runs a mothers' group on Thursday mornings (a day I actually have off from work). It's combines the opportunity for moms with young kids (there is childcare provided) to hang out combined with a bit of Bible/religious discussion and the like. Much of the discussion is not of a religious nature, but many of these women grew up as Christians (unlike myself) and infuse this worldview into the discussions. It is a non-denominational Protestant group (my friend is the daughter of a Lutheran minister, but she married a Mennonite and they needed to meet halfway).

She invited me to come, in large part because of the way our schedules do not otherwise coincide (mostly mine, as I work outside of the home - she's a stay at home with domestic help, but does participate a lot in her church and community). This is a way for us to hang out a bit. She's really my only Christian friend too. I only see my other friends once or twice per year, if that, because we're all so busy with jobs and kids and whatnot.

I've attended a couple of times, and enjoyed the opportunity to have some female camaraderie with moms that have some of the same struggles I do (most of my colleagues are childless). I also find it nice to be able to be openly Christian more often than just on Sundays, since I cannot be that way at work, and I spend a lot of time working.

My friend seems to be at least somewhat thoughtful of my circumstances (or perhaps she is just wishing to broaden the group's horizons). For instance, she led a discussion (not so much a study) on the Book of Esther, being sure to reference both the Hebrew, which is what her church uses, and Greek (with the additions) editions. I brought along my Orthodox Study Bible and used that to help the discussion along. She also got a little group art project going - a triptych altarpiece, discussing early Christian art as part of this and the how the creation of such art is worshipful etc.

I am wary though the fact that I might be influenced the wrong way here. I do think that it is healthy for me to have the opportunity to be openly Christian and spend girl time with a truly lovely group of women, and because I am very aware of the theological differences, I don't think that this would put me on dangerous footing. But perhaps it might?

It might be argued that we should have such a group out of our own church. First off, I am currently too overwhelmed with the other duties in my life to organize such a thing. But there are other issues too. Our church is much smaller and while we do have a number of moms with young kids, a) the vast majority of them work outside the home b) most live quite a ways from the church, and being that they are almost all Russian immigrants, do not drive (my husband didn't learn to drive until he moved to Canada, and many of the Russian women I meet here never do get around to learning) or do not have access to a car - most are one-car families. They could transit (as they do to work), but that's not so fun if it's a long trip with children in tow. I do get the impression that the few who are at home feel lonely and isolated, but the logistics just don't work well.

I dunno. What do you think?

Thanks,

kmm


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ms.hoorah
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2009, 03:43:27 PM »

Everywhere one goes, unless you live in a monastery, you are exposed to other faiths or lack of faith. Stay-at-home moms need socialization. Meet with the other moms. Enjoy the adult company and free childcare.   You don’t have to incorporate any of their doctrines.  Later, you can convert them.  Wink

I have worked with many Hindu professionals for decades. I have never purchased any bizarre statues with 4 arms.  Cheesy
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believer74
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2009, 07:32:47 PM »

I think you should just enjoy it. It seems from what you said that they are trying to be inclusive and respectful to your tradition.  Cheesy
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GabrieltheCelt
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2009, 07:42:06 PM »

We all need friends so I would go and just have fun.  And, maybe you could bring an icon the next time they want to discuss 'art'.  But just as we're giving you advice on how to introduce Orthodoxy to them, rest assured that they may be interested in catechizing you as well.  Smiley
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SolEX01
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2009, 09:33:07 PM »

Go and make pleasant conversation.  If matters of faith crop up, present the Orthodox view; otherwise, make pleasant conversation.   Grin
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2009, 12:14:00 AM »

Enjoy yourself.
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2009, 06:42:19 AM »

Just try to use proper discernment and prudence when theological matters come up.
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2009, 04:08:05 PM »

YMMV, of course, and it sounds like a nice group, and a nice way to connect with other mothers and other Christians, but my experience has not been so positive in religious groups that are non-Orthodox. Not that anyone has been mean to me or anything, but simply the often diametrically opposed theologies/lack of understanding involved.

(btw, my husband had the same kind of experience with Kairos - a wonderful prison ministry organization, technically non-denominational but really with a strong Baptifundigelical "flavor." Ultimately he just couldn't take it any longer.)

That's not a reason not to go, of course, because who knows? This could be a totally different experience for you. Just a heads-up.
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kmm
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« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2009, 11:21:30 PM »

Thanks all!
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2009, 01:27:52 AM »

Have a good time and, if you can, convert a few of them. Wink
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« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2009, 05:56:22 PM »


(btw, my husband had the same kind of experience with Kairos - a wonderful prison ministry organization, technically non-denominational but really with a strong Baptifundigelical "flavor." Ultimately he just couldn't take it any longer.)


Ha, I've never heard of that term before.  Did u coin that? Wink
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2009, 10:11:40 AM »

That's what a friend of mine calls them! Cheesy
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« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2009, 01:59:45 AM »

That's what a friend of mine calls them! Cheesy
But try saying it three times fast. Tongue
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kmm
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« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2009, 11:58:44 PM »

Okay,

How's this for interesting. Today my friend running the group discussed the Protestant Reformation, especially Luther (my friend from a traditional Lutheran background now in a non-denominational group). As part of this, she taught all these ladies how to cross themselves (the kind with your thumb over your forehead, then mouth, then heart). Apparently traditional Lutherans also believe in the process of theosis (at least of sorts). She didn't call it that, I did. Came up when the ladies were discussing infant vs. adult baptism (where you say a prayer and you're saved kind of thing). A lot of them, even from e.g. Baptist backgrounds, were saying that this process of spiritual growth seemed to make more sense.

Maybe there is some hope for them after all. I'm kidding - in a way - they're good people, and I don't want to be self-righteous, but...  Smiley 
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« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2009, 12:04:58 AM »

^ Did you at least enjoy the pleasant conversation?   Smiley
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GabrieltheCelt
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« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2009, 12:09:23 AM »

Did it seem as if the other group members were 'open' to crossing themselves?  Also, did they seem interested in the idea of Theosis?  If yes, then you might gradually begin to talk a little more about your journey to Orthodoxy and, to get them curious, talk about the similarities between Orthodoxy and other liturgical churches.  It seems as if you might have a group of future Orthodox Christians there.  Smiley
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kmm
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« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2009, 01:14:14 AM »

SolEX01 - yes, they are very nice, funny sorts. More heavily theological today, but very interesting nonetheless.

GabrieltheCelt

They did seem open to crossing themselves. Most, if not all, seemed to do it (and it's a very relaxed, non-pushy sort of atmosphere). Not everyone spoke up, but the idea of Christianity being an ongoing process rather than a one time event did seem to get a lot of nods. A lot of them do come from Baptist and Pentecostal sort of backgrounds, I think, but seem to have rejected at least elements of those upbringings.

Oh yes, my friend, I guess in honouring Luther, also encouraged them to stand or kneel (if they so wished) during the reading of the Apostles Creed. She was telling them about how Luther would have started up with various prayers first thing in the morning as well as the LOrd's Prayer and the Creed.

 I don't try to insert my ideas into everything - if it's relevant I throw in my 2 cents in a gentle, non-threatening  Wink manner, but I'm on their territory so I'm not about to push it. I dunno about converts - my Lutheran friend is married to a Mennonite, and as a result her children are not baptised, but "dedicated" (I think this was a difficult decision for her actually). But, if nothing else, perhaps I can at least dispel some myths about Orthodoxy and yes, have them understand that it isn't necessarily "alien". Although, I did preface a comment I made today with the fact that this whole reformation discussion was somewhat "alien" to me, although enlightening (I think I did ensure though that this was understood by others as not a self-righteous  comment on my part, simply a matter of fact because of the different situations that Orthodoxy is in).

Mind you, when I'm talking to individuals after the fact, during clean-up, etc., they do ask about my journey to Orthodoxy (or even quietly questioning a bit further about some comments I've made during the discussions, if they are sitting right next to me).

Something I was wondering about - they, like apparently many Protestants, used the Apostles Creed rather than the Nicene Creed. Do Orthodox ever use the first, or only the latter in order to clarify issues around the nature of the Trinity, etc.?
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2009, 10:35:43 AM »

I'm kidding - in a way - they're good people, and I don't want to be self-righteous, but...  Smiley 


This is pretty much the kind of feeling I've experienced in non-Orthodox groups, and that my husband reported feeling in the non-denom prison ministry.

One of the problems, IMHO, is vocabulary. Orthodox and Protestants use many of the same "religious" words but have vastly different (and sometimes diametrically opposed) meanings.
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« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2009, 05:19:53 PM »

Ya, take "born again" for example!
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