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Author Topic: converts: are there ever times when you feel a pull toward your old tradition?  (Read 26845 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tikhon.of.Colorado
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« on: January 03, 2010, 04:59:18 AM »

I have been really having a hard time with this.  last night, I got out my two bibles that I used daily in my Protestant life.  when I fell in love with Holy Orthodoxy, I put them away and replaced them on my night stand with an Orthodox study bible. this sounds silly I'm sure.  but when I leaf through the pages, I feel the way I felt when I was Presbyterian.  I mean, Sola Scriptura was great, before I discovered that there were traditions established by original Christians, and that Orthodoxy follows those traditions to this day. 

How can I get through these little tough times?

Tomorrow when I go to liturgy, these feelings will fade.  But, how should I address them when I have them?.....I feel confused, to say the least. 

anyone else feel my pain?
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2010, 11:01:06 AM »

The Scriptures are the Scriptures.  Why should you not feel a certain charge through you when you read them?  And why put away the Scriptures that led you to Holy Orthodoxy?  The Word of God did not change, your understanding of it changed (for the better, I assume). 

I think there are some things that all of us that converted miss now and then.  I miss the pipe organ and the music.  I listen to a lot of music from the period of 1550 - 1650, particularly in Venice (although I like the Northern music, too).  I believe the most beautiful religious music ever written was written by men like Giovanni Gabrieli, Orlando de Lassus, Michael Preatorius, and Augustine Bassano.  I would love nothing more to be in one of the large churches in Europe at that time an listen to some of the most beautiful music ever written.

However, that being said, I am not prepared to give up what I have now for the opportunity to praise God with the Trumpet and Cymbals, and to "Blow the trumpet on the new moon . . ." as the Psalms speak.
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2010, 11:03:40 AM »

I've had dreams involving attending Episcopalian services, and Western hymns stil run around in my head 18 years after I became Orthodox.  Mark it up to plan ol' sentimental nostalgia.  Contact with anything Orthodox, expecially the Liturgy, is a good antidote.
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2010, 02:16:29 PM »

  I mean, Sola Scriptura was great, before I discovered that there were traditions established by original Christians, and that Orthodoxy follows those traditions to this day. 


You must realize that in your Presbyterian background, they too had traditions which they use to interpret the scripture.  You merely replaced those manmade traditions with the original Tradition handed down by the apostles.  Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2010, 03:53:51 PM »

To be perfectly honest, yes. And I firmly believe that some of the best elements of my "old tradition" may be lacking in Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2010, 04:36:06 PM »

I do and I think, to an extent, it's normal to feel a connection because of familiarity.  The key is to entertain these thoughts as little as possible, I think.
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2010, 05:25:40 PM »

Unfortunately not: I had thought, when chrismated Lazarus Saturday, that I would miss the sunrise service and the Alleluia chorus, but then I heard the Paschal stichera, and forgot all about Handel.

I came across my old Book of Concord a couple years ago.  Flipping through it I thought "I used to believe THAT?"

And unfortunately, every bit of news I hear from the Lutherans makes me glad I'm not in that sinking ship.
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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2010, 05:56:33 PM »

Yes.
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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2010, 06:28:56 PM »

I miss being a part of the women's group.  My old church was just a few minutes away from our house and I was able to participate in all the stuff that women do behind the scenes at most churches- arranging flowers,  making food baskets,  making baby quilts,  making packages for missionaries, washing dishes after a potluck.  My Orthodox parish is an hour away so I can't participate in these activities and this makes me a little lonesome for my old Baptist church.  (Of course, if I actually went back and heard the sermon I would be reminded why I left!)
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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2010, 06:52:47 PM »

Sure, sometimes I miss things. For example, sometimes I miss how informal and undivided the relationship was between laity and leaders. The pastor at my Protestant church used to play basketball and do all sorts of things with us. He was just another one of the guys. There are negatives to that, but sometimes I miss that. And speaking of basketball, where am I supposed to play sports in an Orthodox Church? I've never seen a rec hall in one. It was a nice way to raise the awareness about Christianity without being pushy. You just invite a few friends to play some sport or other at the Church, and they could then decide for themselves whether they wanted to explore the other areas of the Church--though preferrably more than just the fellowship hall when we had food!

And I miss the music to some extent. It wasn't nearly as theologically orthodox as Orthodox music, but on an emotional level I could connect more. Some people talk about how an Orthodox liturgy is "like heaven" for them. Not for me. I've never been as comfortable in liturgical worship as I was in a contemporary worship service in a small church, with a guitar, maybe a piano, and the entire congregation singing. Not that I haven't found parts of liturgical worship that resonate with me, such as the joyful solemnity, and the historicity of liturgical worship appeals to the egghead in me. But, you know, when I went to a Protestant college we would have Bible studies, and it'd just be a dozen guys and a couple acoustic guitars singing contemporary worship songs, and those were some of the most heartfelt musical moments--or for that matter, religious experiences--I've had.

Usually the feelings pass. I wouldn't denigrate any of those things I just mentioned. I've moved on to other things, yes, but those former things had value. They just aren't for me at this point in my spritual walk. When I have those thoughts or feelings, I don't try to fight them--I mean, as long as they aren't harmful I don't fight them. Just like I sometimes recall memories of childhood, and that's fine, so to with religious memories. As long as they aren't harming you in some way, I don't think it's an issue. I don't think these types of memories or feelings are silly, I think they're perfectly natural for most of us. This is especially true if something we associate with a past church/experience is triggered by a song, a book or Bible, or whatever else. I think a priest would probably be able to advise you best, but I wouldn't sweat having feelings or memories concerning Presbyterianism or even sola scriptura. Just don't overreact, don't get all triumphalistic and prideful about Orthodoxy, and on the other hand don't let doubt take hold of you so that you start wanting to go back to where you were before. I know, even if true, it's easier said than done.
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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2010, 07:18:44 PM »

I miss being a part of the women's group.  My old church was just a few minutes away from our house and I was able to participate in all the stuff that women do behind the scenes at most churches- arranging flowers,  making food baskets,  making baby quilts,  making packages for missionaries, washing dishes after a potluck.  My Orthodox parish is an hour away so I can't participate in these activities and this makes me a little lonesome for my old Baptist church.  (Of course, if I actually went back and heard the sermon I would be reminded why I left!)

Xenia: JP?  Is that Jerusalem Patriarchate?
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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2010, 07:55:14 PM »

I struggle with not being able to understand or pronounce parts of the Divine Liturgy. 

It's all Greek to me.... literally.  Grin

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« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2010, 08:07:42 PM »

I struggle with not being able to understand or pronounce parts of the Divine Liturgy. 

It's all Greek to me.... literally.  Grin



More services then. Find a CD of the Divine Liturgy in Greek and listen to it as much as possible.
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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2010, 08:11:04 PM »

I struggle with not being able to understand or pronounce parts of the Divine Liturgy. 

It's all Greek to me.... literally.  Grin



More services then. Find a CD of the Divine Liturgy in Greek and listen to it as much as possible.

Or an English speaking parish.
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« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2010, 08:12:53 PM »

Quote
More services then. Find a CD of the Divine Liturgy in Greek and listen to it as much as possible.
Thank you.  The CD is a good idea.  I have only been going to services for about 4 weeks.

Thanks again.
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« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2010, 08:24:33 PM »

I struggle with not being able to understand or pronounce parts of the Divine Liturgy. 

It's all Greek to me.... literally.  Grin



More services then. Find a CD of the Divine Liturgy in Greek and listen to it as much as possible.

Or an English speaking parish.

You are right. Why bother with the time, care, and effort of actually learning the DL in Greek. Much easier to just move to a different parish.  Roll Eyes

The language isn't really an issue if you want to put the time and effort into it.
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« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2010, 08:34:28 PM »

I struggle with not being able to understand or pronounce parts of the Divine Liturgy. 

It's all Greek to me.... literally.  Grin



More services then. Find a CD of the Divine Liturgy in Greek and listen to it as much as possible.

And it doesn't take all that long either to become familiar and start parroting what you hear; especially if you follow along with a bilingual book.
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« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2010, 08:40:37 PM »

I struggle with not being able to understand or pronounce parts of the Divine Liturgy. 

It's all Greek to me.... literally.  Grin



More services then. Find a CD of the Divine Liturgy in Greek and listen to it as much as possible.

And it doesn't take all that long either to become familiar and start parroting what you hear; especially if you follow along with a bilingual book.

Precisely. I can't speak conversational Ukrainian at all, but in under a year I was able to stop using a prayer book to follow along in the DL.
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« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2010, 08:44:26 PM »

That sounds like it would be really fun.
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« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2010, 08:46:36 PM »

I struggle with not being able to understand or pronounce parts of the Divine Liturgy. 

It's all Greek to me.... literally.  Grin



More services then. Find a CD of the Divine Liturgy in Greek and listen to it as much as possible.

Or an English speaking parish.

You are right. Why bother with the time, care, and effort of actually learning the DL in Greek. Much easier to just move to a different parish.  Roll Eyes

The language isn't really an issue if you want to put the time and effort into it.

You are right.  Why bother with putting your time, care and effort in reading the Bible and the Fathers when you can put that time and effort into being trained like a parrot.
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« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2010, 08:57:53 PM »

You are right.  Why bother with putting your time, care and effort in reading the Bible and the Fathers when you can put that time and effort into being trained like a parrot.

No extra time needed. Just show up to Church and pray along with everyone else.

I'm not opposed to English services, I'm just opposed to people treating language issues as if they are the end of the world.
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« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2010, 09:04:01 PM »

Honestly, I haven't felt even the gentlest tug.

The only thing I can't seem to shed are my "old" prayers at meal time when asked to bless the food. For whatever reason I feel strange saying the Orthodox prayers publicly. Maybe it's embarrassment over the formal language of the prayers?  Undecided
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« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2010, 09:10:55 PM »

I struggle with not being able to understand or pronounce parts of the Divine Liturgy. 

It's all Greek to me.... literally.  Grin



More services then. Find a CD of the Divine Liturgy in Greek and listen to it as much as possible.

And it doesn't take all that long either to become familiar and start parroting what you hear; especially if you follow along with a bilingual book.

Precisely. I can't speak conversational Ukrainian at all, but in under a year I was able to stop using a prayer book to follow along in the DL.

I know how you feel.  there are parts of Liturgy at my church that are in Russian and Slavonic, and I can't understand it.  but, after a few months, I can pronounce it like a true Slav :-)
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« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2010, 09:21:33 PM »

You are right.  Why bother with putting your time, care and effort in reading the Bible and the Fathers when you can put that time and effort into being trained like a parrot.

No extra time needed. Just show up to Church and pray along with everyone else.

You assume ANY one else speaks the language.  I love the books where the one side is language X, and the other side is language X in English phonetic transcription.


Quote
I'm not opposed to English services, I'm just opposed to people treating language issues as if they are the end of the world.

You mean like Met. Sotirios?  Are you opposed to it being treated as the be all and end all?
Quote
“If the desks of Greek Orthodox Schools are empty now, in twenty years the pews of Churches will be empty and the Omogenia will shrink. We should take care of our Greek Orthodox Schools as we take care of our own two eyes,” Metropolitan Sotirios of Toronto (Canada) emphasized in his interview with the “National Herald”. He added that, “When we say we care and we want to promote the Omogenia, Hellenism, the Greek language, culture and history, then these things do not happen with words, but one must work and the best way is through day schools.” ...To the question if his priests know Greek, he answered, “Yes, all of them. I have 2 or 3 that are of different ethnic backgrounds, but they educated themselves at the University of Thessaloniki and their Greek is perfect.” And he added: “I say to everyone who wants to be ordained that they must learn the Greek language as well.” ...“The services done in the Chapel are mandatory for all and are done completely in Greek, without exception,” he emphasized.  
 
http://www.gocanada.org/documents/dayschoolsen.doc

Good thing his grace has his priorities straight. Roll Eyes

I don't know what CEB is going to a Church where he doesn't speak the language.  Maybe there is no other Church, it which case there is no choice and something is better than nothing.  Maybe the parish has welcomed them and made them feel at home whereas the English parish is standoffish.  Then by all means stay.  I've just seen hocus pocus maintained for a plethora of silly reasons (and silly reasons for Anglicanization).
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« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2010, 09:31:55 PM »



You assume ANY one else speaks the language.  I love the books where the one side is language X, and the other side is language X in English phonetic transcription.

 
 
I agree!  I love my prayer book that has English on the right, and Slavonic on the left
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« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2010, 09:43:00 PM »

You assume ANY one else speaks the language.  I love the books where the one side is language X, and the other side is language X in English phonetic transcription.

I didn't assume anything. All of MY local parishes have bilingual Divine Liturgies and have bilingual service books--bar one, and that one unfortunately had a unilingual Divine Liturgy.

As for the case you describe above, its certainly not the norm.


Quote
You mean like Met. Sotirios?  Are you opposed to it being treated as the be all and end all? Good thing his grace has his priorities straight.

He is welcome to his opinion.
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« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2010, 09:49:28 PM »

You assume ANY one else speaks the language.  I love the books where the one side is language X, and the other side is language X in English phonetic transcription.

I didn't assume anything. All of MY local parishes have bilingual Divine Liturgies and have bilingual service books--bar one, and that one unfortunately had a unilingual Divine Liturgy.

As for the case you describe above, its certainly not the norm.


Quote
You mean like Met. Sotirios?  Are you opposed to it being treated as the be all and end all? Good thing his grace has his priorities straight.

He is welcome to his opinion.
Actually, no he's not.  Constantinople insisted on anathematizing phyletism over a century ago.  Judge not, lest you be judged, for the standard you apply will be applied to you.
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« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2010, 09:55:59 PM »

Actually, no he's not.  Constantinople insisted on anathematizing phyletism over a century ago.  Judge not, lest you be judged, for the standard you apply will be applied to you.

You are right. You probably shouldn't judge the Metropolitan when your faith is listed as "Arab Orthodox" and your jurisdiction is listed as "Antioch, but my heart belongs to Alexandria." And you live in the USA. And all this from a man who insists on defending OCA autocephaly. Wonders never cease.

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« Reply #28 on: January 03, 2010, 10:06:44 PM »

I apologize.

I did not intend to start a fight.  Thanks for the suggestions.  I went to Amazon.com and did a search and found all kinds good things like CDs. 

Thanks again.

 
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« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2010, 10:14:21 PM »

You are right.  Why bother with putting your time, care and effort in reading the Bible and the Fathers when you can put that time and effort into being trained like a parrot.

No extra time needed. Just show up to Church and pray along with everyone else.

You assume ANY one else speaks the language.  

They are speaking it for the Liturgy.

Quote
I'm not opposed to English services, I'm just opposed to people treating language issues as if they are the end of the world.

I agree. I'm at a parish at the moment where the Liturgy is in English and that's great, but I have never minded it being in English, Greek, Arabic or whatever. One can learn to parrot in many languages. Wink
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« Reply #30 on: January 04, 2010, 12:11:56 AM »

Yes, very often, and it troubles me deeply.

I often feel strongly drawn towards atheism. It's a despairing and stressful situation for me as I can rationalise theism on an intellectual level, but the extent to which I 'feel' God in my heart is weak; and I can also comfortably and easily comprehend the universe without Him. I feel bad saying it, but my faith struggles, and I often find myself doubting whether I am going in the right direction spiritually - whether I am indeed pursuing truth, of if I am just indulging a subconscious desire for the comforts of religion. Often I find myself doubting the existence of God; and even though I can confirm to myself my theistic belief on an intellectual level I still struggle to find the strong faith felt by those who have not a single doubt in their mind about their beliefs. I have the faith of the intellect but I lack the sincere faith of the heart - and yet I crave it more than anything. I often feel like I am walking on a thin line between faith and atheism. It pains me greatly. Sad

Lord I believe! Help thou my unbelief!
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« Reply #31 on: January 04, 2010, 01:29:42 AM »

Well, I have recently been tempted to explore my Roman Catholic roots before entering Orthodoxy completely, feeling that I need to give the Roman Catholic perspective a "fair shake" before entering Orthodoxy, but after a few days these feelings passed.  All I had to do was tour a local Catholic church I pass all the time on my drive home.  I'd always admired the architecture of it from outside, but when I went inside it was full of charismatic banners and sentimental statuary, as well as a corner of the nave full of rock instruments.  I was immediately longing for an Orthodox Church to pray in, and knew where home really was.
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« Reply #32 on: January 04, 2010, 02:11:00 AM »

Was that the SSPX Church, Alveus?
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« Reply #33 on: January 04, 2010, 02:21:26 AM »

Was that the SSPX Church, Alveus?

HA!  No.  I still haven't gone in there for a service.  I probably shouldn't anyway.
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« Reply #34 on: January 04, 2010, 02:32:47 AM »

Only thing I miss from the Lutheran church is the ethnic stuff. It was the only place in London where I was able to surround myself with people from my own culture and speak my mother tongue, which is why I have quite a bit of sympathy for those Orthodox Christians who have similar cultural attachments to their church.
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« Reply #35 on: January 04, 2010, 02:48:34 AM »

Actually, no he's not.  Constantinople insisted on anathematizing phyletism over a century ago.  Judge not, lest you be judged, for the standard you apply will be applied to you.

You are right. You probably shouldn't judge the Metropolitan when your faith is listed as "Arab Orthodox" and your jurisdiction is listed as "Antioch, but my heart belongs to Alexandria." And you live in the USA. And all this from a man who insists on defending OCA autocephaly. Wonders never cease.

And Truth prevails.
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« Reply #36 on: January 04, 2010, 02:51:06 AM »

I apologize.

I did not intend to start a fight. 

Don't worry. You didn't.  It's of long standing.....
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« Reply #37 on: January 04, 2010, 02:57:19 AM »

You are right.  Why bother with putting your time, care and effort in reading the Bible and the Fathers when you can put that time and effort into being trained like a parrot.

No extra time needed. Just show up to Church and pray along with everyone else.

You assume ANY one else speaks the language.  

They are speaking it for the Liturgy

there goes that assuming again....

Quote
Quote
I'm not opposed to English services, I'm just opposed to people treating language issues as if they are the end of the world.

I agree. I'm at a parish at the moment where the Liturgy is in English and that's great, but I have never minded it being in English, Greek, Arabic or whatever. One can learn to parrot in many languages. Wink

ἀλλὰ ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ θέλω πέντε λόγους τῷ νοΐ μου λαλῆσαι, ἵνα καὶ ἄλλους κατηχήσω, ἢ μυρίους λόγους ἐν γλώσσῃ.
ولكن في كنيسة اريد ان اتكلم خمس كلمات بذهني لكي اعلّم آخرين ايضا اكثر من عشرة آلاف كلمة بلسان I Corinthians 14:19
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« Reply #38 on: January 04, 2010, 03:54:19 AM »

You are right.  Why bother with putting your time, care and effort in reading the Bible and the Fathers when you can put that time and effort into being trained like a parrot.

No extra time needed. Just show up to Church and pray along with everyone else.

You assume ANY one else speaks the language.  

They are speaking it for the Liturgy

there goes that assuming again....

I'm sorry? Are you saying that people saying the Liturgy in Old Greek, Old Arabic, or some old Slavic tongue aren't speaking any language at all?

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« Reply #39 on: January 04, 2010, 08:32:29 AM »

Chiming in late & in tune with original question: No, because I basically had no prior tradition or religion for almost 30 years although my childhood was Protestant and rediscovery of faith was briefly Protestant  (tried fundamentalist, "mainline", and pentecostal) for about 1 year.
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« Reply #40 on: January 04, 2010, 09:27:06 AM »

You are right.  Why bother with putting your time, care and effort in reading the Bible and the Fathers when you can put that time and effort into being trained like a parrot.

No extra time needed. Just show up to Church and pray along with everyone else.

You assume ANY one else speaks the language.  

They are speaking it for the Liturgy

there goes that assuming again....

I'm sorry? Are you saying that people saying the Liturgy in Old Greek, Old Arabic, or some old Slavic tongue aren't speaking any language at all?



Parrots don't speak any language.

I am saying, based on experience, that it is quite possible to go to a DL where no one has a clue as to what is being said, including the priest.  The Fathers didn't write babbling. They wrote hymns.

Once I was at a non-Arab Church in IN. On the offering table in the narthex there was a silk covering.  The design was Arabesque, and quite lovely, except that the border had the Muslim Creed repeated along the border.  It could be worse: in some medieval icons the Theotokos wears tiraz (a Middle Eastern luxury cloth) with the same border, and many Churches in the old empire have the same Creed as a pattern in brickwork around the outside of Churches.
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« Reply #41 on: January 04, 2010, 12:48:52 PM »


I'm not opposed to English services, I'm just opposed to people treating language issues as if they are the end of the world.

Hear, hear!

As far as my response to the OP:  NO.
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« Reply #42 on: January 04, 2010, 01:32:40 PM »

Only thing I miss from the Lutheran church is the ethnic stuff. It was the only place in London where I was able to surround myself with people from my own culture and speak my mother tongue, which is why I have quite a bit of sympathy for those Orthodox Christians who have similar cultural attachments to their church.

Same here. (My former Lutheran congregation had services in German up until almost WWII, with confirmation classes and church council meetings in German also! Which is why I agree with you about having sympathy for cultural attachments.) In becoming Orthodox, I sometimes feel like the red-headed stepchild or the new in-law at the family reunion. I don't know the in-jokes or the relationships and so I miss a lot of what goes on.
I think I miss the music most of all. I love Orthodox hymnody, don't get me wrong, but I miss the good old Lutheran hymns and organ music also. Though I must say that my former congregation was fortunate to have a first class instrument and a genius organist/choirmaster, so that spoiled me.
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« Reply #43 on: January 04, 2010, 02:12:06 PM »

Every once in a while, an old hymn will go through my mind. I'll sometimes pull out a hymnal and sing it. Many of the old traditional hymns that I knew would not be unacceptable to the Orthodox (outside of a liturgical setting, of course), much like Christmas carols. However, my former congregation has gone quite contemporary, so there really is no "old tradition" to go back to. Most of the people there now don't have a clue about the old hymns. In fact, on the increasingly rare occasions that I visit (my wife still attends there), I'm reminded very firmly WHY I'm Orthodox Smiley.
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« Reply #44 on: January 05, 2010, 12:28:56 AM »

I'm not a convert... but, I've considered jumping the Roman boat for a tradition that I love.

I guess the hard part for me is losing my love for so many Western saints.  I think my view of God's grace is probably a little broader than Orthodoxy's and I don't mean that as a criticism.  I'll still love St. Francis of Assisi and St. Thomas Aquinas even if Orthodox aren't even sure whether they are even baptized Christians.

It's pretty awful where I'm at.  I love people like St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Little Flower and John of the Cross; I can stay Catholic and still love the Eastern saints, even after the Great Schism.  I guess I could keep a private shrine to the Western saints (post-Schism) as an Orthodox Christian, but then this really amounts to cheating right?

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