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Paleo
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« on: January 22, 2004, 03:30:20 PM »

Hello everyone,

I would like to take a minute to introduce myself.  I am at work so it will have to be quick.  I am glad I found this forum, and I have enjoyed reading through many of the posts (even the political ones).

31 1/2 Years of Hisory in a Nut Shell

I attended a Fundamentalist Baptist church from birth (1972) until Jan. 2002.  I left because I was dissatisfied with its shallowness.  In the two years since leaving I have been a "Reformed" Baptist, Presbyterian (PCA), and for a year now Lutheran (LCMS).  All in a quest to find THE Church that Christ founded.  I knew it still had to exist somewhere.

During this time I have read some of the Church Fathers and Eusebius' The History of the Church .  I had looked into Eastern Orthodoxy during my search (how couldn't I after reading Eusebius?) but, I just couldn't get past the "works righteousness", "mysticism", and all that other "strange stuff".  Yet I just couldn't get totally away from it.

The Sunday after Christmas we (my wife and children and I) attended our first Orthodox liturgy.  I was hooked, and as I told the priest in an e-mail, "It was very beautiful and the "icon thing" didn't bother me like I thought it would.  In fact I was quite touched when I saw a mother take her squirming infant to an icon of Christ and place his hand on it.  The child was quieted and continued to touch and gaze at the icon."

Since then I have been in contact with the priest by e-mail, and we are supposed to meet for supper on Feb. 2.  I have been doing a lot of reading on the intenet and I especially like Jame's Paradosis blog.  Just last night I finished reading Bishop Ware's The Orthodox Church.  A lot of hurtles have been cleared dealing with differences between Protestant and Orthodox theology (like sola scriptura, the purpose of Christ's death or better yet incarnation, Mary, and such like).

This is all so scarey and exciting at the same time.  One day I am sure I have found the Church- the next I have doubts.  My wife seems very willing to come along with me.  Thanks to God for her.  I pray that I haven't caused her and the children too much confusion on this wild ride through Protestantism to Orthodoxy.

I am also unsure how the conversion process can be accomplished with the church being so far away (1 1/2 hour drive).  Has anyone here had a similar experience?

Please pray for us.


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PhosZoe
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2004, 03:43:57 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Hi Paleo, Vicki is correct. Many on this board share your experience including a far drive to church. Wink  I wish you the best on your journey.    

You  may want to check out the following books:
The Orthodox Church By Timothy Ware- Good overview of the church and it's history.

Dancing in the Dark By Frank Schaeffer- Schaeffer is the son of a prominent evangelist. It's an interesting read.  
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Paleo
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2004, 05:07:13 PM »

PhosZoe,

I just finished reading Timothy Ware's book last night.  I'm thinking about getting something from Frederica Matthewes-Greene for my wife to read.

Does the wink mean you have a far drive to church?  If so how far?
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gregory2
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2004, 04:06:43 PM »

Hi Paleo- welcome!  I think you'll find your story more common than un-common -- so many Orthodox parishes are made up mostly of converts these days anyway.  I grew up Eastern Orthodox but many of my relatives have given up attending Church altogether.  If it really weren't for the converts, we'd have no one to fill our parishes.  The OCA and Antiochian churches owe most of their growth over the past 30-40 years to convert reception into Orthodoxy.  

When I was growing up, it was normal to have a 45 min-1 hour drive to church each way, simply b/c there aren't many Orthodox parishes in America.  I've read that we comprise less than 1% of the population, fewer than Jews and Muslims.  But a long drive to church can be rewarding in itself -- gives you time to focus, time to pray, time to think about Jesus.

Where are you from?  Where are you attending Orthodox liturgy?
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motheconvert
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2004, 12:39:52 PM »

Peace to all,I was chrismated in 1982 and loved the OCA at that time. after a few years i fell into a very long spell of deep darkness with no sense of God at all. In fact I was convinced there was no God and stopped all forms of religious practise. Ten years later, in
2000, by the Grace of God, this ended
Straight back to church I went. What I found was a church full of scowling slavs looking at me like I stepped off another planet and not one word of english. There had been a large immigration of Russians while I was away.
Fair enough. I hung in for a while but ultimately returned to my Roman Catholic roots.It was O.K. at first but I soon began to realize how deep the church has sunk into
a state of trying to be relevant .
Anyway, I have found a wonderful Ukranian
Orthodox Mission in my end of my freezing Prairie city. All English, young priest who teaches at the university,an active educational
program and very friendly parishioners with lots of converts. Seems like an answer to prayer except tht I am overwhelmed with guilt for abandonning the church who has raised me and welcomed me back when I left Orthodoxy. I have been praying hard for a spiritual home, so Holy Cross seems like the answer, but I am very confused and aching inside. Is this guilt familiar to anyone else?
Prayers gratefully accepted.
Frewell from the frozen north
 Motheconvert
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katherine 2001
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2004, 12:05:29 AM »

I attend a small mission which doesn't have a resident priest--one comes up once a month (if the weather permits, which in Monana is a if) for vespers and liturgy.  The other weeks we have reader's services.  The nearest parish is 60 miles away, and the next closest one is 90 minutes away (where our serviing priest comes from).  Before our serving priest came to serve at that church, the serving priest came from Billings (which is 3-1/2 hours away if the roads are good--if not, it can take a lot longer).  We went to Billings for Holy Week--luckily, people there are very good about being willing to put people up.
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Paleo
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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2004, 01:12:56 PM »


Where are you from?  Where are you attending Orthodox liturgy?

I live in south Georgia.  I have only attended an Orthodox liturgy once.  That was at St. Justin Martyr in Jacksonville, FL, an OCA parish.  That is probably where I will be attending regularly (well, as regularly as possible)  fairly soon.  We will have our first meeting with the priest next Monday when he stops here on his way to Atlanta.

Thanks everyone for your encouragement.  I guess such a long drive to church is not that unusual.  The priest I am conversing with said, "Orthodoxy is a destination church!"  That appears to be true for many in more ways than one.

Take care.


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« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2004, 05:17:26 PM »

Mothe, Have you used confession as spiritual medicine?  I try to confess at least 4 times a year, and I find the more I do it the better I feel in my spiritual life.  I don't care what I say either -- I figure my priest has heard just about everything.  If you are sincere and honest, God will forgive you.  Don't let guilt monopolize your thoughts - it's the tool of the devil!
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katherine 2001
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« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2004, 08:16:32 PM »

Motherconvert, have you talked to the priest at the church you are attending  priest about your situation?  Please do this.  I'm sure he will be able to help you with what you need to do in this situation.  He will be able to give you some guidance on whether this may or may not be God's will for you, or whether what you are feeling right now is from God or Satan.  Please talk to him and get help in dealing with this situation because you can't deal with it on your own.
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katherine 2001
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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2004, 08:17:43 PM »

Sorry, I meant to edit out the second "priest" in the first sentence before posting.
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« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2004, 09:44:48 PM »

Paleo, if you are ever near the Macon area, please stop by our church.  Several members drive over an hour to attend so your experience is not uncommon as others have indicated.  I often feel blessed that my wife and I only have a 40 min drive Smiley
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motheconvert
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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2004, 12:07:54 AM »

Thanks to all for your very good suggestions. I will definately(sp?) talk to the priest about this issue.
Peace to all,
mo.
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Paleo
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2004, 10:56:12 AM »

Oblio,

Thanks for the invite.  We live in the Valdosta area, about two hours from Macon.  If we are in the area we would definitely be glad to visit and worship with you.
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« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2004, 06:29:39 PM »

PhosZoe,

I just finished reading Timothy Ware's book last night.  I'm thinking about getting something from Frederica Matthewes-Greene for my wife to read.

Does the wink mean you have a far drive to church?  If so how far?

Hi. Paleo!  Welcome aboard!  We're only too glad to join you on your spiritual journey, as a bunch of other journeyers!  

About Frederica Mathewes-Green, I'd say YES YES YES YES!  My personal favourite?  "At the corner of East and now."  Your wife will surely enjoy it.  

We also have a thread about best introductory books for the seeker or convert.  It might even be here under convert issues.  If I can find it, I'll post it on this thread for you.

God Bless

-David Smiley
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Karamazov
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« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2004, 06:48:56 PM »

Peace to all,I was chrismated in 1982 and loved the OCA at that time. after a few years i fell into a very long spell of deep darkness with no sense of God at all. In fact I was convinced there was no God and stopped all forms of religious practise. Ten years later, in
2000, by the Grace of God, this ended
Straight back to church I went. What I found was a church full of scowling slavs looking at me like I stepped off another planet and not one word of english. There had been a large immigration of Russians while I was away.
Fair enough. I hung in for a while but ultimately returned to my Roman Catholic roots.It was O.K. at first but I soon began to realize how deep the church has sunk into
a state of trying to be relevant .
Anyway, I have found a wonderful Ukranian
Orthodox Mission in my end of my freezing Prairie city. All English, young priest who teaches at the university,an active educational
program and very friendly parishioners with lots of converts. Seems like an answer to prayer except tht I am overwhelmed with guilt for abandonning the church who has raised me and welcomed me back when I left Orthodoxy. I have been praying hard for a spiritual home, so Holy Cross seems like the answer, but I am very confused and aching inside. Is this guilt familiar to anyone else?
Prayers gratefully accepted.
Frewell from the frozen north
 Motheconvert

Hey, Motheconvert!!!!!   I am just so TOTALLY REVVED to find a FELLOW WINNIPEGGER on OCnet!!!    I have attended your mission church three times, and I absolutely love what Father Andrew is doing with education.

I'm going to post something from Fr. Andrew's latest e-mailing for the sake of paleo.  If you're on Fr. A's e-mail listing, I'm sure you'll find it familiar.

About the "guilt" thing, do you feel that you have progressed spiritually since re-discovering Orthodoxy?  Are you a better/more informed/more spiritually aware person?  Ultimately, I think this is our goal - to progress toward Theosis.  

I find Fr. Andrew a wonderful person to talk with.  Have you spoken with him about your spiritual journey (where you have been, and where you seem to be headed)?  How about another Priest?  I would recommend that, if you feel uncomfortable talking with your parish Priest, you could try Fr. Wasyl Makarenko or Fr. Cornell Zubritsky over at the consistory office on St. John's (just north of the Cathedral on Main St.).  Perhaps Fr. Jaroslaw at St. Mary the Protectress on Burrows?   Our Church is blessed with some truly wonderful and spiritually gifted Priests, all who would loooove to chat with you.

KEEP WARM and GOD BLESS!!  You have my prayers.

David Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Grin Cheesy Grin Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
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« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2004, 06:53:13 PM »


 A lot of hurtles have been cleared dealing with differences between Protestant and Orthodox theology (like sola scriptura, the purpose of Christ's death or better yet incarnation, Mary, and such like).


Me again, Paleo.  Noticed you referred to "sola scriptura."  Here's a very good synopsis of the Orthodox view on that matter.  It was sent to me by the Parish Priest of the Holy Cross Orthodox Mission in Winnipeg, Manitoba:

What the Bible Says About Itself
source: holyorthodoxy.tripod.com

2 Timothy 3:15--"And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus"

This verse illustrates the proper teaching about the Holy Scriptures and shows what tremendous benefit they have when used correctly. Incidentally, when Timothy was a child, the New Testament did not exist. Paul is speaking here of the Old Testament, but the Church applies this to the New Testament as well.

2 Timothy 3:16--"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"

This verse also shows what the Bible is to be used for, but does this mean that the Bible alone is the only measure by which Christian Truth is judged? Not according to the Bible. In 1 Timothy 3:15 St. Paul says, "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth". According to the Bible, the Church is the pillar and ground of the Truth.

2 Peter 1:20--"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation"

This passage clearly shows that the Bible is so sacred that it was not meant to be interpreted by every person who just happens to pick it up. Since the Church is the pillar and ground of the Truth, we know that it is the one to interpret Scripture.

Acts 8:30-31--"And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him"

This is a clear Scriptural example that shows the Bible is not meant to be interpreted privately. The eunuch, when asked if he understands what he is reading says, "How can I, except some man should guide me?" And who guided him? The Apostle Philip by the Holy Spirit. Remember, the Apostles were ordained by Christ (John 15:16--"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you") and had the authority to teach.


We know that since all Scripture is given by inspiration of God that it is inerrant. But is the Bible the only source of teaching and the final authority for Christians? If the Bible were the only source of teaching for the Apostles, then Jude in his epistle would not have quoted from two books that were rejected by the Church as Apocryphal. In Jude 1:9 we read, "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee". This quote is from an Apocryphal work called "The Assumption of Moses". Again in Jude 1:14-15 we read, "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him". This quote is from the Apocryphal book of 1 Enoch chapter 2:1. Non-Orthodox who say that the Apostles only used the Bible to teach do not take these verses into account. We must be very careful not to distort the Scriptures to fit our own personal views. By doing this, we not only dishonor the Sacred Scriptures, we blaspheme God as well.

 
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"The true orthodox way of thought has always been historical, has always included the past, but has never been enslaved by it. The strength of the Church is not in the past, present, or future, but in Christ."
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« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2004, 07:00:10 PM »

Dear Paleo:

Link to the "Introductory Books" thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/newboard/index.php?board=9;action=display;threadid=1974
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« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2004, 05:39:52 PM »


This is all so scarey and exciting at the same time.  One day I am sure I have found the Church- the next I have doubts.  My wife seems very willing to come along with me.  Thanks to God for her.  I pray that I haven't caused her and the children too much confusion on this wild ride through Protestantism to Orthodoxy.

I am also unsure how the conversion process can be accomplished with the church being so far away (1 1/2 hour drive).  Has anyone here had a similar experience?


Hi Paleo,

It sounds like the Lord has really brought you a great distance on your spiritual journey thus far.

The doubts from one day to the next are probably normal.  Especially coming from a  Protestant background (as did I) where so many things are so relative to the times, finding the Rock, and His Church can be certainly unsettling. For me, it was at the point where I knew I couldn't go back to protestantism, but still had a few lagging questions that needed to be answered. I'm sure God will guide you into His will.

When I converted I was driving 2 1/2 hours one way to Church. There isn't a real set of rules, like you have to attend so many classes or something before converting. Its best if a person can attend bible study every week, (which was in Wednesdays) but for me, this just wasn't possible. Just ask the priest questions. You can email him and of course after Liturgy on Sundays might be a good time to talk. Every priest is a little different in this regard, so priests will come to catechumens and suggest they may be ready for conversion, others from the get go will say they dont do that, but allow the catechumen's to come to them to say they're ready to convert. (of course if the priest thinks someone isn't ready he'll suggest to wait a bit longer and study some more first)

Basically when you feel you understand the essential dogmas of the Faith, and you feel "its time" then it is time. Smiley


A couple good books I'd suggest are:

The Orthodox Way by Bishop Kallistos Ware. (which IMO is a better introduction to Orthodoxy than The Orthodox Church is)

Thirsting for God, in a Land of Shallow Wells. By Matthew Gallatin (sp?)

There are also many books that deal with specific issues that are of great benefit as well. But these two are excellent intros to Orthodoxy IMO!

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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2004, 06:57:36 PM »

Greetings to Dave,. This is very,very amazing. Are you a student of  Fr. Andrew's at U of M? Things seem to be unfolding reasonably at this time. In answer to your question about growing spiritually, I think that returning to orthodoxy is a product of spiritual growth which has produced a need for a
more solid, more demanding way of life. I'm not explaining this well at all. It just seems like a drink of cool water on a hot day
to hear simple, pure Christianity preached . I will always love the R.C.Church, but I fear she is losing her heart and soul sometimes. The center will hold, I am sure, but in Canada at least, it seems pretty wishy-washy, for the most part.  
Peace be with you, David. You keep warm,too.
 Mo
.p.s. I did speak to Fr.A. briefly, and will do so again
I have spoken briefly with Fr. Andrew and will do so again

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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2004, 07:14:47 PM »

This is very,very amazing. Are you a student of  Fr. Andrew's at U of M?

Nope, not formally a student.  Just a crazy old boilerguy cossak dude from the North End (God's Country, I like to call it).

I am informally a student of Fr. Andrew and may others who can help me on my path.

Do you ever get out to St. Andrew's college?  I attended a great Lenten retreat there last year.  Fr. Andrew, Fr. Roman Bozyk, and Fr. Cornell gave great, moving, and absorbing lectures.  I occasionally head over to the Cosnsistory and chat with Protodeacon Nazari and Fr. Wasyl Makarenko.  Fr. Wasyl?  A great guy! Smiley
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