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Author Topic: obedience- blind? questioning?  (Read 435 times) Average Rating: 0
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nrse
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« on: August 08, 2010, 06:30:54 PM »

please help me get my mind around what is meant re obedience to a spiritual father/counselor/priest....is it unquestioning? if so, then why is it ok to question previous or other teachings/faiths- without which we could not be drawn to orthodoxy?  am i making sense? where does questioning end and obedience begin? i have always been a big questioner and analyzer...it has served me well in uncovering symptoms and causes in keeping my hospice patients comfortable.....but i fear it may cause me problems in my spiritual life...(which may be why my theology nun in high school kept finding "projects" for me to do in the library every time the old priest came to teach our class lol)....i was raised RC, after questioning left for Pentacostalism- and questioning that, have been drawn to orthodoxy and attending liturgy for several months)...shouldnt one always question? again, thanks for your patience with me...you have been very kind.....
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John of the North
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2010, 06:36:31 PM »

"Secondly, obedience to a spiritual Father is not so much a question of commanding and obeying as of leading and following. In other words, a spiritual Father must never see him self as one who issues edicts, but as one who leads the lay person given to his care by God; he leads by word and deed. So many examples of this abound in the lives of the Saints that it would be pointless to begin citing them here. It need only be said that the relationship between a layman and his spiritual Father is not a legalistic one; it is not based on a vow of obedience (although, by grace it could be very binding on a particular spiritual Father and child). Rather, it is a living bond between two living souls, one more experienced than the other, one capable of showing the way because he has already begun to travel it, the other willing to trust and follow. The late Schemamonk John, for many years the Father Confessor of Varlaam Monastery, who also had many non-monastic spiritual children, put it this way: "The wise spiritual life was explained with precision by the Holy Fathers in their writings, but what they wrote can be best understood by being lived. It is the spiritual Father who must live these principles, according to his strength and the grace given to him, in full view of his spiritual children. To those who turn to me, small-brained as I am, I will give my opinion and then always say: But consider the matter yourself." [4] The spiritual Father does not coerce, he does not give orders; rather, he takes the spiritual child by the hand and leads the way, gently but firmly."

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/layobedience.aspx
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"Christianity is not a philosophy, not a doctrine, but life." - Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2010, 08:37:20 PM »

Dear Nrse,

I think you just need to get to know your parish priest. Quite a lot of them are good men, erudite, kind, willing to help. Don't ask many questions at once; rather, just communicate, share, tell the priest about your life. Then, ask this ONE question that seems to bother you the most. I hope you will get a good answer. If not, be patient, ask again. If you still do not get any answer and you really have reasons to believe that your parish priest is incompetent - change your parish. But I somehow do not think you will really have to do that.

The Lord be with you. Best wishes.

--G.
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