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Author Topic: Has anyone been in this situation? Any Advice on how to handle it  (Read 920 times) Average Rating: 0
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Truthseeker194
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« on: September 06, 2010, 08:41:21 PM »

I recently made the decision to convert to Orthodoxy from the United Methodist Church... What are the ins and outs of the differences and how do I explain them to my mother in a way she'll understand...?
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2010, 09:01:27 PM »

Not to be offensive, but shouldn't you understand the main differences yourself before you convert?

Welcome to the forum, by the way!
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Ionnis
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2010, 10:45:52 PM »

Welcome to the forum Truthseeker!

It can be very difficult explaining the difference between Methodism and Orthodoxy to parents.  First, you don't want to come across as arrogant or condescending towards your mother or her adherence to Methodism.  It is also difficult determining what differences are important to highlight when talking to our parents about these things.  Sometimes it can be harmful if we begin to expound upon differences when we ourselves don't fully comprehend them.  It can also be harmful if we go too far and begin making "mountains out of mole hills" in regards to certain differences. If your mother is the patient sort, I'd recommend that you wait to explain the differences until you are able to contact a priest.  That way you are more knowledgeable about the Faith and also because he can help you problem solve these sorts of things.  Actually, more likely than not, he would be willing to meet with you and your mother to help dispel any misunderstandings and to try to explain the Faith to her in the most appropriate way.

And really, to this day, I don't even know what the distinguishing marks of my previous faith (Nazarene) are.  I'm not terribly smart and have difficulty following extremely complicated theological discussions.  So I never had that kind of discussion with my parents.  The way I did it was that I started practicing the Faith as I was instructed to during my catechumenate (the classes one take to learn about the Faith before being baptized/christmated).  Naturally, my parents began asking questions and I answered them as they were asked.  If I had a reasonably good answer I gave it.  If I didn’t, I’d admit it and agree to seek one out.  Initially, I experienced a lot of resistance from my parents because it was unknown.  However, we were able to have respectful and meaningful conversations and they quickly accepted it, even though they did and continue to have some reservations.  Now they mention how proud they are of me and boast about me being a good Christian to their friends. 

Of course I say all of this without knowing you and so I am relying entirely upon my own experience with my family and making several assumptions about you and your family.  Early on I decided that I didn't want to be confrontational with my parents.  I saw many Orthodox converts who were "zealous" for the Faith and ended up ruining relationships with friends, parents, relatives, etc.  Not only that, but they made Orthodoxy look bad in the eyes of their loved ones, which is a terrible sin.  They were prideful, triumphalist, and just downright offensive in the way they presented Orthodoxy. 

I say all of this because I want to express the importance of presenting the Faith with love and joy in your heart.  It is so easy, at least it was/is for me, to want to rely on my base nature (pride, anger, contempt, cruelty, harshness, etc.) when explaining the Faith, something which is all too common in “Internet Orthodoxy”.  I have to remind myself that if my actions lead someone away from Orthodoxy, I will be liable for that on the Last Day.  What greater sin is there than to lead someone away from Christ?  Tread lightly, which I’m sure you will.

Anyway, I wish you well in your search for Christ in His Holy Orthodox Church.  In the Church you will find unimaginable depth, meaning, love, and joy if you look for it.  I pray that you find it.

In Christ,

John

P.S.  Please forgive me for any false assumptions I made. 
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 10:51:34 PM by Ionnis » Logged

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Paisius
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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2010, 11:13:57 PM »

Not to be offensive, but shouldn't you understand the main differences yourself before you convert?

Welcome to the forum, by the way!


It takes many years to acquire an Orthodox mindset my friend. I'm sure there are many things you understand better now than when you decided to convert.  Wink
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2010, 07:33:01 AM »

I recently made the decision to convert to Orthodoxy from the United Methodist Church... What are the ins and outs of the differences and how do I explain them to my mother in a way she'll understand...?

Good morning Truthseeker. . .I didn't/don't explain much to anyone, I just say/said I found a gift, and this gift will make me a much better Christian.  The only other thing I might say is that I found what other's seek as the 'early church'.  There are so many differences between the Methodist and Orthodox that it would be hard put of where to begin and how much to say.  I do say that the doctrine is the soundest I've ever found, and invite them to look into it themselves if they want to know more.  

With this being said, I'm 47 years old and no longer living under my parent's roof - so while I respect and honor my parents, I am no longer expected to give a full explanation on anything.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2010, 07:36:28 AM by quietmorning » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2010, 08:53:48 PM »

Quote from: Paisius on September 06, 2010, 09:01:27 PM
It takes many years to acquire an Orthodox mindset my friend. I'm sure there are many things you understand better now than when you decided to convert.

A year ago I felt quite comfortable talking about the differences between Orthodoxy and other Christian groups. Now, having become much more involved in the life of the Church, I have trouble trying to explain things because I always feel like I know so little. As strange as it sounds, it is more in my heart than in my brain.
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« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2010, 04:39:24 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

You do not need to explain your change of religion.  The best way to witness to your new faith is that you live a holy life and it shows.  When they see that Orthodoxy makes you a better person that will explain everything--no apologetics necessary.  As in many cases coverts try to convince their relatives of the truth of the Church; this is not necessary.  They will see the truth of your religion from your countenance and holy and light filled life and from the fact that you show more love and care for them in word and deed. 

Alexis
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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2010, 11:20:07 AM »

Both John and Charles Wesley held many orthodox beliefs that have been abandoned by modern Methodists, including the honoring of the Virgin Mary. Their desire for a spiritual awakening is not unlike that of the Hesychysts, their use of  a method of spiritual progression  can likewise be shown to incorporate teachings of the early church fathers. By looking at these as starting points, one can usually soften the blow for a parent or grandparent by  showing how you are merely returning and continuing the path the John and Charles had begun back to the Ancient Church. Thios approach worked with my Methodist grandparents and they were happy that I entered the Holy Orthodox Faith.

Thomas
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