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Author Topic: Losing Interest?  (Read 3982 times) Average Rating: 0
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Linus7
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« on: December 25, 2003, 10:32:25 PM »

Am I losing interest in internet discussion boards?

I used to be really fired up for the fray of apologetics, especially in trying to reach Protestants. I would spend hours at a time (often to the dismay of my wife) crafting carefully researched and documented posts. It seemed to me I was really serving the Lord in this way.

Now I cannot seem to be bothered. I occasionally check out www.christianforums.com . I see what the usual suspects have posted, but my reaction now tends to be, "Same old stuff, different day."

Is this apathy or an increase in wisdom?

Am I just tired and burnt out?

Any of you have a similar experience?

I post on this board, but it is rarely controversial. Even here I sometimes wonder how long I will continue to hang around.

Is there a point to this topic? I'm not really sure.

It's Christmas Night, and my wife and daughter are already in bed.

Maybe I'm just bored.

Probably won't get too many responses . . .  Cool
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« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2003, 10:49:05 PM »

I know what you are saying, think about drips of water on a granite boulder.  What would some that lurk and ask honest questions on heterodox boards hear and believe about the Church if not for the apologists.

Pray.
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« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2003, 11:22:01 PM »

I know what you are saying, think about drips of water on a granite boulder.  What would some that lurk and ask honest questions on heterodox boards hear and believe about the Church if not for the apologists.

Pray.

True, but it just seems to wear me out.

And there are some out-and-out dishonest persons on these boards.

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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2003, 12:39:04 AM »

Personally,

I'm not interested in comedy or jokes on a religious forum, what attracts me is something that jump starts thought & research spiritually in scripture, prayer, etc.

I usally skip the rest.

james
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« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2003, 03:53:54 AM »

I agree with Vicki.  In the first year or two after my conversion, I spent time waging war on AOL religious chat rooms, talking with not only protestants of all shapes and sorts, but Roman Catholics, Buddhists, Neopagans, etc.  It was a great spiritual "high" for a while, and it gave me a chance to learn much about the faith, but I consider that an early stage of my praxis that I am glad to leave behind.  I find that the more effort I put into prayer and working out my own salvation, the more people God puts in my life that I can talk with about the faith.  And these one on one conversations are ultimately more fulfilling than anything on a chatroom or website.
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« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2003, 05:13:55 AM »

I agree with David. This has been my experience as well.

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« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2003, 07:07:57 AM »

What I'm enjoying about this forum as against several others I have belonged to is that there is scope to have a decent and thought provoking conversation without polemics. I log on here and even if someone is disagreeing with me it is not violent and abusive.

I find the apologetic warfare thing very tiring and it takes over my life and gives me sleepless nights. The more positive apologetics and dialogue is something that benefits me personally and helps me to come out of the process better all round, and hopefully with some friends.

I think that these forums can be very useful and positive. We should not expect too much, but for many of us not surrounded by fellow Orthodox thinkers and prayers in the flesh and it can be an important source of fellowship.

I have the blessing of my bishop to work with some other OO folk to establish a distributed network of people interested in thinking about and working on theology in this coming year. I think that if it has clear parameters and works on defined projects then it could be useful. If it's just folk like me posting the first thing that comes into my head then it has a little less value.

I appreciate the spirituality and intelligent content of many of the posts here. Seraphim Reeves, Linus7, Caffeinator, Vicki, loads of people who post something worth reading. If it takes over life then it's a mistake, but if it's something that has the right place and commitment of time then I think it beneficial. On some other forums I find the passions to easily aroused, but I like it here and like reading challenging posts. This applies to Linus7 and his thoughts about various RC issues. They challenge me positively to think much more critically in respect of my own assumptions.

PT
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« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2003, 07:26:45 AM »

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Roman Catholics, Buddhists, Neopagans, etc.

How did we get to be on this list?!  Grin
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« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2003, 10:08:43 AM »

I don't know Caffeinator, I'd rather be there than on a few from the previous sentence. Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2003, 12:52:02 AM »

One thing I do not like about arguing religion on the internet is the principle of He who has the most time on his hands wins.

It may seem to some of you - since I am the High Exalted Top Poster here - that I have lots of time to spend on the internet. Actually, I do not. I just spend 99% of what internet time I do have here. Also, last year I worked in the evening supervising the Computer Lab at my school, which gave me lots of time to rack up quite a few posts here at OC.net. I don't have that evening job anymore, so I have a lot less Net time than I used to.

If I involve myself in a doctrinal dispute on some web site with a sizeable contingent of Protestants, I often find the thread snowed under with manure by the time I am able to return to it. The task of shoveling just seems too daunting.

Some people (all the wrong ones) apparently camp out on these web sites while consuming coffee, No-Doz, and amphetamines.

When Calvinists start quoting the Fathers and claiming them as their own, I begin to understand why the RCC used to burn heretics.

And when I begin to sympathize with the burning of misguided human beings, it's time for me to find another pursuit.  Grin
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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2003, 05:53:11 AM »

Sure. I agree with you. But that isn't what I've found OCNet like in my time here. I think you seemed to feel got at over on the Papal Supremacy thread but I don't have any more time than you. I've got 4 kids and a wife and a job and freelance web work and an M.A. and a constantly ringing me up bishop and articles I'm always working on and lots of hobbies. But at the moment I am finding this a positive and life/spirit enhancing place to be from time to time.

PT
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2003, 10:31:33 PM »

Think of it as growing linus, that’s how I see it.

I started out about 10 years ago with the chat rooms.  I Frequented one Christian Chat room so much that they called it my room.  I spent every free minute between classes and such - some times staying on til 4 AM - discussing and thinking.  That’s what attracted me to begin with, THINKING about what I believed and why.  It grounded me in my faith in so many ways.  I also really enjoy a good argument. Grin (I know it's hard to tell) And I really enjoyed going toe to toe with people more than twice my age who had theological degrees and such and often times making them see that they were wrong!  I once got a Calvinist minister to agree that the Rosary was a beneficial practice (once I explained to him the purpose behind the rosary)!! I have to admit that it was fun when they would find out that I was little more than a kid at that point Cheesy teaching them with their degrees and ego’s!

 They I graduated from Chat to the message boards a couple of years ago.  The chat rooms got to be so trite and shallow.  (Talk about the same CRAP over and over again . . . .) I started off at WBS then left there due to the overwhelming preponderance of pagans and pseudo-Christians and the political correct attitude for CF.  CF decided to ban me without reason or notification and now I'm satisfying myself with just this board.  I’m sure there are people here who would love to see me leave here too.  Maybe.  Someday in the future.  I find I have less and less time for these sorts of things.  Until then, I’m glad to learn about OC s and make new friends - even if they are only friends for the moment. Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2003, 02:18:43 AM »

We all come  to these chat experiences with different needs, interests, etc.  I've found this place most interesting because the board has been set up for Orthodox Christians.  Others are welcomed to  join in, but the base is Orthodoxy.

I'm interested to see what might happen when a group of us begin the discussion of Path to Salvation by Theophan the Recluse.  I've often thought of a book discussion online, but have never actually participated in one.

When I first became interested in Orthodoxy, it was a time of polemics and arguments.  It was part of my process of coming to terms with leaving the old Protestant ways of thinking and identifying oneself, and coming to an increasing awareness of just what it meant to be committed to the Orthodox Tradition.   After a period of time, that sort of thing grows tiring for some of us.  

I, too, have had my experiences of arguing with others.  Years ago, on Prodigy, I remember going round and round with conservative Lutherans, when I was still a Calvinist, albeit, growing more and more skeptical as time went by.

I think a board like this can fill a lot of purposes, both for those who are established in their Orthodox faith, and those who are new to it or are inquiring into Orthodoxy for the first time.  

I do wonder sometimes why there are non-Orthodox who remain here.  I have the same thoughts when I lurk on a the Yahoo Ev-Or Group, where Evangelicals and Orthodox have a chance to go at it.  There are some regulars there who have been there for a couple of years, and continue to maintiain their Protestant viewpoints.  I wonder what it is about Orthodoxy that keeps them in that discussion.  They apparently have no interest in becoming Orthodox, and yet seem to derive great satisfaction from constantly arguing their Protestant points.

It's a puzzlement sometimes.
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2003, 06:48:53 AM »

I do wonder sometimes why there are non-Orthodox who remain here.  I have the same thoughts when I lurk on a the Yahoo Ev-Or Group, where Evangelicals and Orthodox have a chance to go at it.  There are some regulars there who have been there for a couple of years, and continue to maintiain their Protestant viewpoints.  I wonder what it is about Orthodoxy that keeps them in that discussion.  They apparently have no interest in becoming Orthodox, and yet seem to derive great satisfaction from constantly arguing their Protestant points.

The arguing aside, when I was growing towards historic Christianity, both Roman and Orthodox, out of a Plymouth Brethren anti-sacramental, anti-clerical, sola-scriptura and a-theological background, I found that Orthodox was a complement to what I was believing. It filled in many of the gaps I found in my evangelicalism. At first I didn't expect to become Orthodox, rather I considered myself a Conservative Evangelical Charismatic Catholic. Only later did I realise that this is what Orthodoxy is.

So I am not at all surprised that there are lots of non-O's here. It is a friendly place and for many folk Orthodoxy is a complement before it becomes a challenge.

PT
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« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2004, 11:34:54 AM »

Well, I've just had a "losing interest" moment. It's the "uncreated energies" issue again. It's not that I don't have theological opinions on the matter. It's the thought of having to hack through a lot of talking to pry out the actual idea, then pull it back into modern philosophical language, then explain how I've done all this and where it led. And all the while this turns out to be a way to go back to the usual hobbyhorses of Orthodox supremacy, and then the very next post has as its centerpiece exactly the problem I described, and there comes a point where the cousins coming over Sunday and general tiredness with fighting the same battles over again takes over.

Now, I'm afraid that this point I'm going to have to say something that offends everyone (and denigrates myself, too). Some years back Sharyn McCrumb wrote a mystery called Zombies of the Gene Pool. The setting is a reunion of early science fiction figures, some of whom have gone on to become important, some not, and some who have died, and some who have simply abandoned the field. They've come back to retrieve a time capule of stories that they wrote back when they lived together on a hardscrabble farm in Tennessee. Here is one of the characters reminiscing to himself about those days:

Quote
Since this was the tenth time Bunzie had made that particular joke, no one bothered to laugh. Finally Woodward called out, "Fans are slans!" but it was more out of politeness than conviction. The phrase would be chanted often in the days to come. Slan: a type of seperior being described in the 1940 novel by A. E. Van Vogt. The Lanthanides had almost believed it in those days. They thought that they were the superbeings who had evolved one step beyond the mundanes of the planet. They would be the titans of the next century (and maybe the one after that; they all agreed that aging ought to be curable).

Erik GIle sighed wearily, remembering the mole-faced Dugger, the pedantic pettiness of Woodward, and the '54 version of himself: a bantam intellectual full of youthful arrogance. Slans, indeed. Because they understood the in-jokes in the magazines; because they knew who had written which pulp novella; because they were clever--too clever to really work hard at anything (low threshold of boredom) but endlessly capable of memorizing the facts that interested them. [. . . .] Might as well call a ghetto kid a genius because he knew the batting averages of every one of the Dodgers. So the Slans/Fans wrote to each other, and created endless feuds by gossiping about absent friends, secure in the knowledge that their slandom, and all the while, the world trickled on past them. Now Giles could look back and see that they didn't break the sound barrier; they didn't walk on the moon; they didn't invent the transistor. The mundanes did that . . . while they were busy arguing over the ethical considerations of time travel, or writing exhaustive accounts of the last science fiction convention they attended.

(The ellipsis is my own.)

This is a peril we all face. It is one thing to argue in order to test and try one's own thinking. Perhaps of a time we will attempt to dissaude someone of a dangerous idea, but it is far, far too easy to get caught up in the "importance" of that.
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« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2004, 11:44:12 AM »

That's always a danger in any small group.

But I have found all of the discussions very useful, have had lots of new directions for further study open up, thought about the things I need to find and read to understand some issues better myself, and enjoyed a relatively gentle forum compared to many/most others. I haven't found this place too introverted yet.
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« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2004, 12:08:35 PM »

Well, when I started this thread, it wasn't OC.net that I had in mind. I was thinking of CF.

OC.net is actually refreshing. It is usually not that controversial, and when it is, it challenges me to learn more.

CF merely aggravates me. Too many liars there.

I would be interested in hearing what Keble (aka D.P.) has to say about the whole Essence/Energies thing, which I must admit I find confusing (witness the recent thread I started on it over in the Faith forum).

I've been doing the internet religious discussion thing for about a year and a half now. I started out on a web site that bills itself as "Christianity.com" but is really "Evangelical Protestants R Us." I was banned within about six months, although I think I received exactly one warning that whole time.

A number of other folks who frequent OC.net were also banned from Christianity.com (like Oblio, Prodromos, and Monkey, to name three).
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« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2004, 03:36:38 PM »

I was also banned from Christianity.com for a brief outburst...after you were banned, I posted this:

Quote
Missionary Conversations with Protestant Sectarians
by Rev. Kyril Zaits
Published 1973, 1985 Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Jordanville NY

Printed with the blessing of His Grace LAURUS, Archbishop of Syracuse and Holy Trinity Monastery.

PREFACE

   This series of missionary handbooks has been compiled and translated from the Russian especially in order to help younger Orthodox Christians maintain their balance in a world filled with clever deceptions and subtle, satanic teachings hidden in flowery philosophies and decorated with exciting slogans.  Satan is no fool; he knows his job well.  He does not begin to lead one astray by presenting him with grossly blatant falsehoods or with the open rejection of Christianity and morality.  No, he begins with some scrap of truth, labels it "Christian" and then, having attracted one's attention, presents one with just enough of the truth to entice his victim to follow him.  Thereafter, by ever graduating degrees, Satan introduces open falsehoods, nurturing the pride which then leads the deceived one to create his own false teaching.  Such is Protestantism.
   The "conversations" presented in the series have been selected for two reasons: because they present clear-cut refutations of heretical teachings and because, in the process, they present correct Orthodox Christian teachings in a clear, simple manner, more easily understood to the younger readers.
   These conversations are actual events from real life and they may lead one to deep thinking.  How zealous these sectarians are in the spreading of their destructive heresies!  With what energy and daring they appear everywhere, striving to impose their false teachings upon everyone in tones which do not permit objections.  If, however, they encounter someone in the midst of their listeners who is familiar with their twistings of the Scriptures and their craftiness, they soon vanish.
   On many occasions, though, they are successful in tearing some weak member from the Church of Christ, and leading that person on their road to destruction.  Such a lost one is usually an uninformed person, who does not often pause to think his thoughts through to the end.
   These terrible attacks against the Holy Church are increasing almost daily and it is no small matter for those who are firm in the faith.  Our love and unity extends to the weak as well as the strong.  It is imperative that our young people and our weaker members be taught the truths of the Holy Orthodox Christian Church and it is imperative that we all redouble our prayers and support sound Orthodox Christian missionary and teaching efforts everywhere.
   For the parent who really does care about his children and their salvation, the three publications, The Orthodox Word, Orthodox Life, and the Orthodox Christian Witness*, should be coming into your home and read attentively by both parents and children.  There are also a number of helpful publications available from the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, N.Y. and the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, Mass.
   We ask parents not to betray their own children, but to provide for their true-Orthodox education.  Their eternal lives depend upon it.

*The Orth. Word, Platina, Calif. 93940
 Orth. Life, Jordanville, N.Y. 13361
 Orth. Christ. Witness, 9332-30 Ave N.E., Seattle, Wash. 98115



   On September 1, 1927, Father Kyril Zaits had the occasion to be in the Ascension parish on the feast day of St. Simeon Stylites.  Every year on this day there was a large gathering of people.  Many came by train from distant places and returned home on the evening train.
   This time there were many passengers, particularly peasants in the third class coach.  There were also members of the local intelligentsia, merchants and several Jewish people to be seen.
   The time was after 10 P.M. and some of the passengers were dozing off, while others, on raised bunks, were preparing to sleep.  Talking could be heard through-out the entire coach since the compartment was not closed.  Suddenly, in the compartment next to mine, some passenger began to speak especially passionately and loudly.  General conversation died down and Father Kyril was roused from his dozing.
   The speaker, a young man of small stature, began to walk about the coach, inviting everyone to listen to him.  Evidently many people became interested.
   "I was a great sinner.  I did not know what spiritual life was...," said the young passenger, "but now here I am a believer!  I heard secret voices calling me to salvation.  I was converted and I became a different person.  I was saved by dear Jesus.  With his own blood he washed away my sins ... I now have no sins ... I am holy ... Christ is my brother, etc."
   While he spoke of himself, of his former sins and present holiness (and he spoke much), the public listened in silence and some women turned to the wall in order to doze off.  They probably were not listening to such a speech for the first time.
   Then however, the sectarian preacher began to touch upon Orthodox dogmas, especially the reverencing of ikons and objections began to be raised by the passengers.
   "So you worship the ikon of Simeon Stylites," said the Baptist.  "Ikons are unnecessary.  This is idol worship!  One cannot bow down before pictures!  The word of God forbids it ... It is necessary to pray only to dear Jesus ... I was wounded twice, was seriously ill, but I turned to Jesus Christ, prayed and became well without any ikons...".
   Objections were heard.  One irritated peasant asked the sectarian: "What are you doing here agitating us?  I likewise was seriously wounded, but I went to the church, asked our priest to serve a thanksgiving service before the ikon of the Mother of God and I became well."
   Thereupon a general discussion began.  The sectarian attempted to answer all the objections and began to sprinkle his speech with quotations from the Holy Scripture.  His speech became disunited.  Texts were introduced out of context and often pointlessly.  It seemed that he would achieve a victory of sorts by speaking endlessly.
   One could not tell if this eruption of words and playing with Holy Scripture would last long, but the argument had gradually become very heated, so Fr. Kyril, unable to sleep, decided to interject.
   The unexpected appearance of a priest at once cooled the sectarian.  Everyone became silent.
   "You have spoken quite a bit tonight, my friend," began Fr. Kyril, turning to the protestant, "but you have made precious little sense.  You have talked around and touched upon some things, but I for one cannot tell what it is that you are getting at.  You present yourself as saved and you have tried very hard to convince these people who are believers to accept that.  Never-the-less, it is clear that you are at enmity with Orthodox Christianity.
   "Please allow me to ask you several clear questions and be so kind as to reply to them clearly, without any misleading eloquence.
   "You are quite probably a preacher -- of which confession is of no significance to us at the present.  One thing however is clear; you are not in the Church of Christ.  Tell us, have you preserved the great spiritual wealth which the Holy Apostles have given to Christ's Church, or have you never thought of this?  In fact, have you ever even heard of this wealth?"
   The sectarian remained silent.
   Father Kyril continued, "Do you have the priesthood?  No?  But it has been in the Church from Apostolic times.  It was passed on by the apostles and it is clearly spoken of in that very Holy Bible which you are now holding in your hands.1
   "Have you preserved all the Mysteria (sacraments): baptism, chrismation, repentance, the Holy Eucharist, marraige, holy orders and unction?  These things were already established in the times of the apostles and they are spoken of in the holy books of the New Testament.2
   "Do you obey the Holy Gospel by honouring the Mother of God?3
   "Do you have prayerful intercourse with the Heavenly Church, with the holy apostles whose writings are in your hands right now, with the saints, martyrs, confessors and all the righteous?
   "Do you have prayerful intercourse with angels?  Do you pray to your guardian angel?
   "All this was in the Apostolic Church and all this remains with us in the Orthodox Church.
   "Do you have prayerful intercourse with deceased fathers, mothers, grandparents and all those who have reposed in the faith?  Do you pray for the dead, or have you forgotten about them so that death for you has proven to be stronger than the love of Christ?  Don't you know that they prayed for the dead in the Apostolic Church?
   "You do not honour ikons nor do you honour the life-giving Cross of the Lord.  And do you sign yourself with the Holy Cross?  Do you wear the cross on your breast in accordance with the words of the apostle -- 'bearing the reproach that he bore'.4  All this was known in the Apostolic Church.
   "My questions are clear and simple.  Answer them.  Why are you silent?  Well, what is there for you to say when you do not maintain any of this?  Can't you see that this is a great spiritual wealth?
   "Then tell us," continued Father Kyril, "what do you have?  Faith?  Yes, you brag of it and call upon these people to believe in Christ.  Your invitation, however, is late: all of these people, with the exception of two or three Jews, have believed in Christ for a long time already; they have been in the Church since childhood.  Calling upon Orthodox Christians to come to believe in Christ is foolish vanity.  We all believe incomparably more strongly than you.  We believe so strongly that we preserve all that has been handed down to us and we fulfill all that has been commanded -- you cannot say this of yourselves.
   "Call upon the Jews to believe in Christ, go to the heathens, to Mohammedans -- preach there, but not here amongst Orthodox believers.  
   "You cannot give us faith for we already have it.  What can you give?  What kind of spiritual treasure?  Absolutely nothing.  You come to us as a beggar in rags.
   "There was, however, something you said which was completely contrary to Christ's teaching: pride and self conceit.  We have heard only of your sinlessness, your holiness, about which you bragged and boasted.  But this does not deceive us.  We remember the words of the Apostle about the Christians of his own time: 'We all sin much'.5
   "Could it be that you sectarians, in your lives, are better than the first Christians?  The Apostle Paul says of himself, 'It is not to be thought that I have already achieved all this.  I have not yet reached perfection, but I press on, hoping to take hold of that for which Christ once took hold of me.  My friends, I do not reckon myself to have hold of it yet...'.6
   "And you believe that you have surpassed even the Holy Apostle in spiritual perfection?  The Apostle calls himself the 'Chief of sinners',7 but you call yourself 'holy'!?
   "Don't you see the absurdity of your boasting and on what a dangerous road you're walking?"
   The young man was silent.  Shortly the train came up to a station and some passengers reluctantly left this late night conversation.  When the train began to move again, the priest continued.
   "I would like to call your attention to one more thing.  You are holding a Bible in your hands.  You know and admit that every word in the Bible is the unalterable truth.  Good.  We Orthodox also acknowledge this.  I would say that you are a Baptist, yes?  Let us assume that there is an Adventist standing next to you, and over there is a Methodist and next to him a member of another Protestant sect and so on.  Let us say that there would be several hundred men gathered here since now Protestant sects number in the hundreds.  Each man will be holding a Bible.  You all acknowledge the Bible as your only source of faith.  You all preach that the Holy Spirit speaks by your lips.  Please tell us, then, why you do not all teach the same thing?  Why do you Protestants consider one another as being lost?  Do you mean to say that the Holy Spirit says one thing to one, and another thing to a second?  Did this ever cross your mind?
   "Here is a small example for you and it would be good for the rest of you to pay close attention to it also.  Let us assume that a jug of crystal clear water was brought here.  Each one of us is holding an absolutely clean glass.  Let each of us scoop up clear water with his glass from the common vessel.  In all glasses there will be seen absolutely identical clean water.
   "This young man has a Bible in his hands; this is the source of the purest water.  Why is it that when he scoops up water from it, when the Methodist, Adventist, Lutheran and all the rest scoop up water from it, they get unidentical water, unidentical teaching?
   "It is very simple.  Their glasses are not clean.  The glasses are their reason, their weak human minds.  Their minds are not clean; they are full of much sophistry and much destructive fantasy.  All of this they apply to the most pure water, to God's word.  Does one have to be so wise to see that their teachings are muddled, contradictory to one another and unhealthy, just as dirty water is not healthy?"
   Father Kyril paused and turned to the Baptist preacher.
   "I have finished for the time being.  Now you, my friend, have achieved the interest of these fellow-travellers of ours and you may give replies and explanations to all these questions which have been presented to you and we shall all listen."
   The preacher did not begin to speak at once.  It was necessary for him to come out of a somewhat difficult situation, especially since some passengers were beginning to make unflattering remarks about him among themselves.
   Then, without pathos, in a quieter voice, he began:
   "You have heard the priest just now speaking about ikons.  I will read to you what the Holy Scripture says about ikons."
   Thereupon, he began to read slowly from certain verses of the prophetic books -- Isaiah, Jeremiah -- about idols.  During the reading the Baptist explained and suggested that here, it was precisely saying that ikons are idols.
   When the reading had finished Fr. Kyril spoke up, "We have listened to your reading about idols but there are neither heathens nor idols here.  You said you would read about ikons.  Very well, then read to us about ikons.  Idols don't interest us."
   "There is nothing said about ikons in the Bible!" the Baptist retorted.
   "Are you really telling the truth?" asked the priest.  "I don't believe that you are so ignorant as to not know where ikons are spoken of in the Holy Scripture.  You know very well, but you don't want to read it.  It doesn't fit into your calculations.
   "Very well, I will indicate the place for you.  Find the twenty-fifth chapter of the book of Exodus and read it."8
   The young man hesistated, but the people began to demand that he read it.  Unwillingly, he sought out the indicated place.  He began to read slowly, as if thinking of what to say.  When he read about the ark of the covenant and the golden cherubims on top of the ark, the priest turned to him with the question:
   "Please tell us, the cherubims which Moses made of gold according to God's command, are they not idols according to you?"
   "That was in the Old Testament" replied the Protestant.  "We are living in the New Testament and we don't need the Old Testament..."
   "Is that so?" asked the priest.  "But when you wanted to read about idols in order to lead listeners into error, then the Old Testament was necessary.  It is a great sin to treat God's word in this manner, and you well know how our Saviour speaks about those who lead others, lesser than they, into error and temptation."
   The Baptist, feeling the awkwardness of his position, again began to read something more in reference to idols.
   "He always comes back to these idols of his!" Father Kyril said.  "Well, if you do not want to accept the testimony of the Old Testament about the Divine descent of holy images, let us turn to the New Testament.  Read several of the beginning verses from the ninth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews."9
   The sectarian fell silent.  We heard no more of his reading and talking.  Gradually, the farther passengers began to fall asleep, lulled by the rhythmic clacking of the train's wheels.

1. Deacons: Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:8, 10, 13; etc
   Presbyters: Acts 14:23,20:17; Tit. 1:5; 1 Cor. 4:1; 2 Cor. 3:6; etc. Rom. 1:9, 15:15
   Bishops: Acts 1:20; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:1; etc.

2. See appendix 1.

3. Lk. 1:28; 42, esp. 48.

4. Heb. 13:13.  (The cross which Orthodox Christians wear is an ever-present reminder that we must bear persecution, humiliation and suffering for Christ's sake as we read in the "Beatitudes".  It is also the symbol of Christ and thus is an open confession that we belong to Him -- it is this open confession of Him that brings about the persecutions we must often bear.)

5. cf. 1 Jn. 1:8, "If we claim to be sinless, we are self-deceived and strangers to the truth."

6. Phil. 3:12-13.

7. 1 Tim. 1:15.

8. Esp. Ex. 25:18-19 (make two golden cherubims of beaten work); 26:2, 31, 32 ("...with ikons of cherubims worked into them."  The KJV has "images of cherubim", but the difference between these images and idols is quite clear -- they are ikons.)

9. This reading is introduced specifically to show the difference between "images" as spoken of in the Ten Commandments and ikonographic images such as God commanded Moses to make.
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« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2004, 03:42:16 PM »

David -

Oh, yeah! I remember that. Great post!

Ah . . . memories!  Grin
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« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2004, 06:26:07 PM »

I am losing interest in this site and the other Orthodox websites that I visit. Over the last few months, my faith has waned and so has my interest for all things Orthodox.
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« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2004, 08:39:06 PM »

I am losing interest in this site and the other Orthodox websites that I visit. Over the last few months, my faith has waned and so has my interest for all things Orthodox.

I am sorry you are being challenged in this manner, but you are not alone. Fortunately Orthodoxy is not an Internet pursuit, faith and works with Love is the key my friend.

Demetri
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« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2004, 09:07:47 PM »

sinjin,

"If God were suddenly condemned to live the life which he has inflicted on men, he would kill himself- Alexander Dumas"

God condemned himself to live the life man had inflicted on himself, and killed himself, that man might have the life he intended for them.

Let your interest be renewed in Him who gave all that we might have all.

Fr. Deacon Lance
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« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2004, 10:49:43 PM »

One good thing about forum "weariness" is that it gives the "newbies" opportunities to raise their concerns afresh, even if there is a certain amount of repitition.  Then, the members, elder, etc. re-learn the tenets of their faith, and re-examine matters of faith they may not have examined for long periods of time.  This, IMHO, is a good thing.

Also, a rest from posting  is probably good, too, because we usually are emotionally attached to the topic of our posts, and it can become quite emotionally draining.

Anyway, hang in there, seven (can I call you "seven?").  I feell the same way at times.
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« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2004, 01:08:22 AM »

I am losing interest in this site and the other Orthodox websites that I visit. Over the last few months, my faith has waned and so has my interest for all things Orthodox.

I know how you feel.

My faith sometimes wanes on a daily basis. I must confess that doubt is often a big problem for me. I have to ask the Lord for faith all the time.

When I was an atheist I faced the same sort of struggle, only in reverse. I found myself suspecting that God was real. Then I struggled to overcome that suspicion.

It dawned on me one day that as an atheist I was fighting for nothing.

At least as a Christian, when I struggle against doubts and despair, I am fighting for something.

You will be in my prayers, sinjin. It sounds trite, but I really do understand how you feel. It isn't easy.
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« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2004, 07:18:47 PM »

[Over the last few months, my faith has waned and so has my interest for all things Orthodox.]

Speaking of waning faith. I have times when I lose interest in all things RC. (No jokes about this please) Are there not times when we all experience a sense of religious ennui.  No matter if you're RC, EO or other.  What do you do to snap yourself out of such a situation?  Prayer works yes but is there anything else anyone here does. Do you think it's a spiritual issue, a trial from God, or what?

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« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2004, 08:17:32 PM »

I sometimes loose faith in man, faith in myself, but I cannot say that I have ever even thought about loosing faith in God.  I cannot doubt Him when I have seen Him work so many Miracles.  Nor can I deny Him who lives within me.
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« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2004, 12:47:46 AM »

Well, we all face different temptations and challenges.

May we all endure to the end so that we can hear our Lord say, "Well done, you good and faithful servant."
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« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2004, 01:50:34 AM »

Back to topic of this thread of getting tired of polemical debates...

Here is an intersting quote from Elder Porphyrios of Attica:
Quote
The false witnesses of Jehovah are unfortunate and may God have mercy on them.  They irritate some Christians; others quarrel with them and call them names, while others take them to court.  But Chilianism cannot be fought in this way.  Only when we become holy can it be fought.

re: doutbing in faith

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of my reception into Orthodoxy.  It has been without a doubt the hardest year of my life.  Not a single day has gone by that isn't a struggle to kill the old man.  Then the worse temptation of despondancy rears its ugly head of saying that this whole unseen warfare is just a cruel rat race with no point.  I read a lot of books and "know" much superficial information about Orthodoxy, yet I am miserable failure at actually being Orthodox.  Thus I live as a total hypocrite.  This fact faces me everyday - if what I believe is true why don't I EVER put it into practice.  But it is this very struggle where Christ truly dwells.  When we have reached the end of our strength to battle we collapse into the sea and cry with Saint Peter, "Lord, save me!"  This is where Christ redeems us.  The fathers say that in the secular world a warrior who fights valiently in spite of severe wounds recieves greater glory from the King than the warrior who suffers no wounds; thus, it is with the spiritual life as well.  Keep fighting, but always get up - confession is a wonderful medicine for the suffering soul.
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« Reply #28 on: January 04, 2004, 02:08:23 AM »

Also one of the best ways IME to combat falling into a state of spiritual despondancy and disbelief is to read the life of a Saint.  The first time I tried this I was still a catechumen and having doutbs about the whole thing...I read the biography of Saint Nektarios and look what happened Cheesy ... I now have the great honor, unworthy though I am to bear his name.  The lives of the saints (especially modern ones for me) really show that God is so very present in the world today and inspire a great deal of hope.  Saint Justin (Popovich) called the lives of the saints "applied dogmatics."  

Here is a list of my favorites, hopefully more people can recomend others:
Saint Nektarios of Aegina
Saint Silouan the Athonite
Saint John of San Francisco
Father Arseny
Father Seraphim (Rose)
Elder Porphyrios of Attica
Elder Iakovos of Evia
Elder Joseph the Hesychast
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« Reply #29 on: January 04, 2004, 06:19:05 PM »

Back to topic of this thread of getting tired of polemical debates...

Here is an intersting quote from Elder Porphyrios of Attica:
Quote
The false witnesses of Jehovah are unfortunate and may God have mercy on them.  They irritate some Christians; others quarrel with them and call them names, while others take them to court.  But Chilianism cannot be fought in this way.  Only when we become holy can it be fought.

re: doutbing in faith

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of my reception into Orthodoxy.  It has been without a doubt the hardest year of my life.  Not a single day has gone by that isn't a struggle to kill the old man.  Then the worse temptation of despondancy rears its ugly head of saying that this whole unseen warfare is just a cruel rat race with no point.  I read a lot of books and "know" much superficial information about Orthodoxy, yet I am miserable failure at actually being Orthodox.  Thus I live as a total hypocrite.  This fact faces me everyday - if what I believe is true why don't I EVER put it into practice.  But it is this very struggle where Christ truly dwells.  When we have reached the end of our strength to battle we collapse into the sea and cry with Saint Peter, "Lord, save me!"  This is where Christ redeems us.  The fathers say that in the secular world a warrior who fights valiently in spite of severe wounds recieves greater glory from the King than the warrior who suffers no wounds; thus, it is with the spiritual life as well.  Keep fighting, but always get up - confession is a wonderful medicine for the suffering soul.  

Nicely put, Nektarios!  This quote is balm for the soul right about now.

Prayers for you in your continuing journey toward Theosis.
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« Reply #30 on: January 04, 2004, 11:42:48 PM »

One thing that helps me keep religious forums on the internet in perspective is the quiet realization that if I don't post nobody really gives a hoot, and life goes on.

[Later Edit: It dawns on me that even if I do post nobody gives a hoot!]

What sometimes troubles me is the recollection of how right I thought I was back in my various incarnations: as a young Southern Baptist, a staunch Calvinist, an atheist, and a Lutheran.

If I thought I was right as each one of those, and I now realize that I was mistaken, what is my assurance of present perfection?

Kind of a humbling thought.  Shocked

Of course, I am older now.  Grin
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