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Author Topic: Five books every convert must read!  (Read 9176 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 22, 2004, 09:20:48 PM »

Outside of the Holy Scriptures, service books and real obvious stuff what are the top five books you think that a convert should read are?


Here is the list I have:

1)  Father Seraphim Rose: his Life and Works by hieromonk Damascene

     I think Father Seraphim is a great aide in the caution against super-correctness but also the typical Americanization / watering down of Orthodoxy found today.  It is really inspiring to see an average American live the Orthodox life so fully.  He is solidly Orthodox and the book contains a good amount of solid theology.  

2) Saint Nektarios: the Saint of our Century by Sotos Chrondopoulos

    Maybe I am just a little biased towards my patron, but I believe he is an awesoem example of sanctity in modern life.  Any good biography of a modern saint would full this role, such as Saint John's bio published by St. Herman's.

3)  The Illness and Cure of the Soul in the Orthodox Tradition by Metropoltan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpaktos.

     This is a great introduction to what Theosis is and the Orthodox spiritual life.  Deals with why the nous needs to be purified etc.


My last two will come later, I'm haveing trouble narrowing this down!
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2004, 09:50:00 PM »

I agree completely with Nektarios on the Fr. Seraphim book. Also, since we're leaving out the "obvious", I'm guesing it's same to assume this means most basic catechetical type books along with The Orthodox Church by Bishop Kallistos. That said, here are mine:

1.)Father Seraphim Rose: his Life and Work.

2.) Any book about the New Martyrs of Russia. The New Martyrs of Russia by Fr. Michael Polsky, Russia's Catacomb Saints by IM Andreev or The New Confessors of Russia by Archimandrite Damascene Orlovsky are good choices.

3.) The lives of saints! Particularly the life of St. Seraphim along with his conversation with Motovilov. The life of St. Mary of Egypt. St. John of Kronstadt, St. Xenia of Petersburg, St. Nektarios...and others. A good array of ancient and modern saints to show the Church's rich history and different paths of holiness. I realize this "array" isn't reflected very well in the short list I gave- these are just some favorites. Smiley If the person is an American convert, then the lives of the American saints- most notably St. John of San Francisco, St. Herman and St. Innocent.

4.) For The Life of the World by Fr. Alexander Schmemann. I know, those who know me are wondering if they read that correctly. Yup, ya did.

5.) The fifth Gospel- aka The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky.
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2009, 06:08:29 AM »

OK, here are 5 that have been very helpful to me as a Protestant convert to Orthodoxy. Mind you that I am Ethiopian Orthodox- (OO).

1. "The Ethiopian Tewahedo Church"
by Archbishop Abuna Yeshaq

In my opinion, this book is the ultimate guide to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Thanks be to God for Archbishop Yesehaq, who was sent by His Majesty Haile Selassie I to the Western Hemisphere to establish the true and ancient Christian Faith. This is the man who baptized Bob Marley.

2. "Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective"
by Daniel B. Clendenin

This book is written by a Protestant, but it is essentially an apologetic and explanation of Orthodoxy for those who know little about it. This book has really helped me to understand the why's and what's of Orthodox practices, customs, and worship. It is an excellent guide for those who are curious about Orthodoxy, or for Protestant converts such as myself. My only criticism is that it doesn't mention anything about the Non-Chalcedonian Churches.

3. "The Orthodox Church"
by Kallistos (Timothy) Ware

This is another great guide to Orthodoxy. Very readable. The index is especialy helpful. If you want to know about a certain Orthodox doctrine or practice, you can easily look it up and find a clear explanation.

4. "The Ethiopian Synaxarium"

This book is the daily lives of the Saints. You can read it and download it on line here:
http://www.stmichaeleoc.org/Synaxarium/Archive.htm

5. "The Way of a Pilgrim"

Written anonymously, this short work is considered to be the classic Russian Orthodox book on prayer. Easy to read, but full of spiritual depth that can never be exhausted.

6. "Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works"
by Heirmonk Damascene

I'm only about half way through this tome, but I am enjoying it. The first 200 pages were really good, but then it started to drag a bit. But a friend of mine has assured me that it really picks back up after you get past the half-way point. I guess it depends on what you like. For example, I love reading about people's spiritual journeys and their philosophical development. but I get a bit bogged down when biogrpahers feel the need to include every influential person in the subject's life. Sometimes it seems like there are too many chapters devoted to biographies of the individuals that influenced Father Seraphim Rose, rather than sticking to the life of Seraphim rose himself. I would prefer to read more of Rose's actual writings and his philosophical/theological transformation. Another disappointment is the omission of many of the details of Seraphim Rose's trials and struggles before his conversion. This is a long book, but overall I think it is very interesting and worth the read.

Hope that helps.

Selam     
 

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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2009, 06:16:15 AM »

5.) The fifth Gospel- aka The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky.

In college we had to read an excerpt from this book. The excerpt was "The Grand Inquisitor." It blew me away with how prophetic it was. I was moved to go and buy the book from which this story came, which of course was "The Brothers Karamazov." I find it hard to believe that a more profound piece of literature has ever been written. I have only read it once, and I keep telling myself that this is a book that I must read at least two more times before I die. It is so full of prophecy, Christian sybolism, and philosophical truth. It is also a brilliant psychological analysis of the human condition and the human soul.

Selam 
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2009, 07:37:20 AM »

Mine, when I was a catechumen, were Fr. Alexander Schmeman's "Journals," in their original Russian. Of course, I realize that they are not for "every" convert, because of the language barrier and also, perhaps, because one needs to have experienced some of the culture Fr. Alexander was part of (i.e. that of the so-called "intelligentsia" of the old imperial Russia, with its very peculiar mindset, language, affinities etc.). Yet, I would very enthusiastically recommend the "Journals" to everyone who wishes to go through this experience.

And of course, most definitely, all of Fr. Alexander's liturgical theology books ("For the Life of the World," "By Water and Spirit," "Eucharist: The Sacrament of the Kingdom"), and his articles, lectures, homilies - everything. Many of those were translated into English or even written in English by their amazingly trilingual (Russian - French - English) author.

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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2009, 09:43:58 AM »

2. "Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective"
by Daniel B. Clendenin
I own this book. I would say that it is not a great guide for those converting, though. At the end of the book he throws some rather critical views of Orthodoxy around, and argues that the Charismatic/Pentecostal sects have validity. I am not sure I would recommend this work. Although it does have some interesting things about the 7 Councils.
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2009, 10:02:08 AM »

I just remembered the one that I wanted to include:
Common Ground: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity for the American Christian by Jordan Bajis
It is really excellent for converts. Be sure to get the unabridged version if you are interested.
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2009, 10:16:58 AM »

2. "Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective"
by Daniel B. Clendenin
I own this book. I would say that it is not a great guide for those converting, though. At the end of the book he throws some rather critical views of Orthodoxy around, and argues that the Charismatic/Pentecostal sects have validity. I am not sure I would recommend this work. Although it does have some interesting things about the 7 Councils.

Yes, I agree. But I found it so refreshing to find an evangelical Protestant who doesn't bash our devotion to Our Lady or our view of the sacraments, icons, and such. That is a very rare thing, and I appreciated his intellectual integrity. Of course, in his charity, he does give validity to those movements that are quite heterodox. And ultimately he affirms the Protestant positions.

But I have to remind myself that I would not be Orthodox today if it hadn't been for Protestantism. I became a Christian through a Protestant ministry, and I learned to love the Bible through Protestant teachings. So, if I were to ever write a book for Orthodox readers that attempted to articulate Protestant theology, I hope that I would be as honest in my characterization of it as Clendenin has been towards us. And, like him, I would also ultimatley argue for the preeminence of my position (Orthodoxy).

Selam
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2009, 10:28:50 AM »

I just remembered the one that I wanted to include:
Common Ground: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity for the American Christian by Jordan Bajis
It is really excellent for converts. Be sure to get the unabridged version if you are interested.

I agree with the Bajis book. It's really quite excellent for western Christians. I add to this mix, Becoming Orthodox (by Fr Peter Gillquist), The Orthodox Church (by Bp Kallistos Ware), A Creed for Today (by Fr Anthony Coniaris) and Divine Energy (by Fr Jon E. Braun).
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2009, 10:33:14 AM »

...Becoming Orthodox (by Fr Peter Gillquist)...Divine Energy (by Fr Jon E. Braun).
Although I found Becoming Orthodox pretty simplistic, and unoriginal, nonetheless it is decent. And thank you for reminding me of the Divine Energy. I read that one after I became Orthodox, and man was it good! I meant to suggest that one, but couldn't quite remember the name.
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2009, 11:24:18 AM »

Hmm, I would say

1. Father Seraphim Rose: his Life and Works. Mentioned already but I think everyone should read it; it is one of my favorite books.

2. A Night in the Desert of the Holy Mountain by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos. This is a great book on the Jesus prayer.

3. The Northern Thebaid: Monastic Saints of the Russian North compiled by Fr. Seraphim Rose. Amazing book that contains the lives of the holy monastic Saints of Russia.

4. The Little Russian Philokalia from St. Herman's Press. It is a series and only three of the volumes are in print: St. Seraphim of Sarov, Elder Nazarius of Valaam (St. Herman's elder), and St. Theodore of Sanaxar. Each contain the life and councils of the Saint. I really love the St. Seraphim of Sarov volume which contains his conversation with N.A. Motovilov along with other councils that are priceless. The ones that are currently out of print are St. Paisius Velichkovsky and St. Herman of Alaska and I hope that they will appear back in print one day.

5. Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain by Priestmonk Christodoulos. The life and sayings of Elder Paisios the Athonite who is a holy Elder of our times.
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2009, 11:36:23 AM »

...Becoming Orthodox (by Fr Peter Gillquist)...Divine Energy (by Fr Jon E. Braun).
Although I found Becoming Orthodox pretty simplistic, and unoriginal, nonetheless it is decent.

Unoriginal? It was essentially a memoir of these evangelicals in their journey to the Orthodox Church. How could it be unoriginal? They told their story in their struggle to overcome the theological hurdles they faced. I would agree that it's not deep. But a convert coming to the Church doesn't need meat but rather milk. Frankly, that book has resulted in thousands (including myself) of folks entering the Church. It is what it is and it's not meant to be what it isn't! Ha! Twist that one around for a minute.  Cheesy

Anyway... we're all different so different books are going to be welcomed or not by each of us. Take care.
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2009, 11:52:33 AM »

At a minimum, these three:

A Concise History of Greece
http://www.amazon.com/Concise-History-Greece-Cambridge-Histories/dp/0521004799/ref=pd_sim_b_5

The Balkans: Nationalism, War & the Great Powers, 1804-1999
http://www.amazon.com/Balkans-Nationalism-Great-Powers-1804-1999/dp/0140233776/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242315275&sr=8-1

Why Angels Fall: A Journey Through Orthodox Europe from Byzantium to Kosovo
http://www.amazon.com/Why-Angels-Fall-Orthodox-Byzantium/dp/0312233965



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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2009, 12:33:20 PM »

Unfortunately, I haven't read very many books on Orthodoxy because they're very hard to find in english here (not to speak of expensive), and I've tried interlibrary loaning them, but even with a great public library system, they can be almost impossible to access.

But I've read the Bajis book "Common Ground" and found it excellent. If I could read it again, I would.

Also "The Way of the Pilgrim"

I also love Abbot Nikon's "Letters To Spiritual Children". Trained in the world of medicine/psychiatry (which he basically rejected), he speaks with great empathy to those struggling with depression.

Then there is this beautiful little book which I do turn to constantly for wisdom on so many subjects, "Living Without Hypocrisy:Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina".  A beautifully produced book with lovely old-fashioned illustrations. Adorable is not the right word, but that's what I call the book!
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2009, 12:33:33 PM »

Tito Colliander, Way of the Ascetics.
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« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2009, 02:46:59 PM »

Can't wait.
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« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2009, 09:33:16 PM »

1) The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks.  Penguin books edition. 
2) Byzantium by Stephen Lawhead
3) From the Holy Mountain by William Dalrymple
4) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
5) Father Arseny: Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father

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« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2009, 10:11:48 PM »

1) One Flew over the Onion Dome, by Fr. Joseph Huneycutt
2) The Art of Prayer
3) Mountain of Silence
4) The Orthodox Way by Bishop Ware
5) On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius
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« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2009, 10:18:20 PM »


Hmm. Interesting pics. What about these particular books do you see of importance for converts.  And converts to what BTW?
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« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2009, 10:36:19 PM »


Hmm. Interesting pics. What about these particular books do you see of importance for converts.  And converts to what BTW?

Sparked my interest, too.  Perhaps a way to get us converts over the "Yippee-skippee-we-found-the-true-faith" triumphalism with a dose of, "Yeah, and look what good the true faith has done huge swaths of people throughout history."

Just a thought.
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« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2009, 10:44:29 PM »


Hmm. Interesting pics. What about these particular books do you see of importance for converts.  And converts to what BTW?

Sparked my interest, too.  Perhaps a way to get us converts over the "Yippee-skippee-we-found-the-true-faith" triumphalism with a dose of, "Yeah, and look what good the true faith has done huge swaths of people throughout history."

Yeah, but everyone needs a honeymoon.
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« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2009, 01:54:41 AM »

"Thirsting for God in a Land of Shallow Wells" by Matthew Gallatin is a wonderful book.
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« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2009, 08:47:36 AM »

Hahahahahahahahaha.....priceless. laugh
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« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2009, 08:48:42 AM »

Tito Colliander, Way of the Ascetics.
Simply an amazing book. Good pick.
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« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2009, 09:18:48 AM »

Unfortunately, I haven't read very many books on Orthodoxy because they're very hard to find in english here (not to speak of expensive), and I've tried interlibrary loaning them, but even with a great public library system, they can be almost impossible to access.

But I've read the Bajis book "Common Ground" and found it excellent. If I could read it again, I would.

Also "The Way of the Pilgrim"

I also love Abbot Nikon's "Letters To Spiritual Children". Trained in the world of medicine/psychiatry (which he basically rejected), he speaks with great empathy to those struggling with depression.

Then there is this beautiful little book which I do turn to constantly for wisdom on so many subjects, "Living Without Hypocrisy:Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina".  A beautifully produced book with lovely old-fashioned illustrations. Adorable is not the right word, but that's what I call the book!

Rosehip, I know what you mean about the lack of basic texts about the Orthodox Church in Public Libraries, two weeks ago I went to my public Library and when I did a word and topic search on the Orthdox Church, it came up with 2 books  both about Orthodox Judaism and one on Russian history.  Now I am trying tosave to but a basic package of hardback books on Orthodoxy so that the library will have a few basic texts. Luckily it does have a nice selection on the early church fathers for me to read for Orthodox spirituality, however as far as my city library serving some 75,000 people is concerned there is no Eastern Orthodox Church be it Greek, Russian, Antiochian, or Alexandrian. Fo we have any mission society that places basic introduction texts into libraries like mine.

Thomas
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« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2009, 11:40:40 AM »

1. The Law of God
2. Becoming Orthodox
3. Our Orthodox Christian Faith
4. All works of the Early Church Fathers.
5. Any book on lives of the Saints.
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« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2009, 11:45:02 AM »


For once, I'm actually not kidding.
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« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2009, 11:50:00 AM »


Hmm. Interesting pics. What about these particular books do you see of importance for converts.  And converts to what BTW?

Greek culture is the milieu our church is from, to understand the church, you in some way need to understand it.  To understand modern Orthodoxy, you need to understand its history of captivity and the effects of the rise of the nation states and national identification in the 19th century.

Why Angels Fall I think is a must read.  I think it captures as best as you can in one work what is present in the church at all times - the angelic and the psychotic.

If I were to suggest one more book, which actually doesn't have a direct relation to Orthodoxy, it would be this one

God's Funeral: The Decline of Faith in Western Civilization
http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Funeral-Decline-Western-Civilization/dp/0393047458
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« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2009, 11:58:10 AM »

I've nothing against history and it seems to me that a brief understanding of the history of the Church is an important thing. Having said that, however, if what you are saying is in fact true, I would run... not walk... from the Orthodox Church. We do not need to be aware of nationalism in the Balkans nor a concise history of Greece in order to be Orthodox. It seems to me that this insistence upon the ethnic nature of the Church (and keeping it so) is what continues to hold the Orthodox Church back in America. It is seen as an ethnic church and not one of the average American. Bear in mind that the Orthodox Church is not growing in America.. in fact, it is barely holding its own. To re-iterate, I've nothing against our individual churches acknowledging their appreciation for those who brought the Orthodox Church to the New World. But it's time here (America) to get out of these "little ethnic ghettos" (as quoted from Met. Philip).
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« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2009, 12:47:22 PM »

Quote
Having said that, however, if what you are saying is in fact true, I would run... not walk... from the Orthodox Church

Yes, I think there are threads somewhere about convert turnover and the 5 year cycle.  Maybe people do wake up to the reality that while a lot is great about Orthodoxy, a lot in it is also deeply messed up.

I am not surprised to see Metropolitan Philip take a dig at the "ethnic ghettos".  That's probably why he forbids his priests from wearing traditional Orthodox garb in public or why in an interview I read of his recently he said that while he likes the Byzantine liturgy and is familiar with it, he could see future generations no longer using it because it isn't culturally relevant.  Perhaps he could mention this same thing to Metropolitan Jonah, who in another interview I read with a Russian paper praised Russian culture and how he's been deeply influenced by it.

Some day I imagine many converts will get fed up with the Byzantine past; with poor, pathetic shrinking ethnodoxy and we will get the Saddleback Orthodox church we they seek to bring back many of the things they treasured but left behind.

Moderator subsituted "messed up" for an abbreviate word of profanity not allowed on this forum. Thomas -Convert Issues Forum Moderator
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« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2009, 02:17:38 PM »

Why Angels Fall I think is a must read.  I think it captures as best as you can in one work what is present in the church at all times - the angelic and the psychotic.

Looking to read it. 

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« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2009, 04:48:59 PM »

Not to be a wet blanket, but most of these books that have been listed on this thread to date are books that every ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN should read, regardless of whether he was born into the faith or came to it later. 

I feel, in many ways, that there is too much emphasis (and I'm talking about Orthodoxy in general) on the whole convert v. cradle mentality.  Isn't an Orthodox Christian Orthodox regardless?

Sorry to rain on anyone's parade.
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« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2009, 06:44:33 PM »

Not to be a wet blanket, but most of these books that have been listed on this thread to date are books that every ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN should read, regardless of whether he was born into the faith or came to it later. 

I feel, in many ways, that there is too much emphasis (and I'm talking about Orthodoxy in general) on the whole convert v. cradle mentality.  Isn't an Orthodox Christian Orthodox regardless?

Sorry to rain on anyone's parade.

Don't apologize. I think you make a very good point.

Selam
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« Reply #33 on: May 15, 2009, 07:53:48 PM »

Quote
Having said that, however, if what you are saying is in fact true, I would run... not walk... from the Orthodox Church

Yes, I think there are threads somewhere about convert turnover and the 5 year cycle.  Maybe people do wake up to the reality that while a lot is great about Orthodoxy, a lot in it is also deeply messed up.

I am not surprised to see Metropolitan Philip take a dig at the "ethnic ghettos".  That's probably why he forbids his priests from wearing traditional Orthodox garb in public or why in an interview I read of his recently he said that while he likes the Byzantine liturgy and is familiar with it, he could see future generations no longer using it because it isn't culturally relevant.  Perhaps he could mention this same thing to Metropolitan Jonah, who in another interview I read with a Russian paper praised Russian culture and how he's been deeply influenced by it.

Some day I imagine many converts will get fed up with the Byzantine past; with poor, pathetic shrinking ethnodoxy and we will get the Saddleback Orthodox church we they seek to bring back many of the things they treasured but left behind.

Moderator subsituted "messed up" for an abbreviate word of profanity not allowed on this forum. Thomas -Convert Issues Forum Moderator

I don't know. Some of what you say sounds a litle disappointing to me. I personaly think it is tragic that the priests are forbidden to wear traditonal Orthodox garb in public. Why should they be ashamed of their culture? Will God use them more because they hide and downplay their culture? And I also cringe whenever I hear people say that we should abandon certain traditions and practices because they aren't "culturally relevant." This is the same argument people make about ordaining women and homosexuals. They say that the words of St. Paul are not culturally relevant for these modern times.

I am a baptized member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. I am white and an American-born citizen. But I would be horrified if my beautiful and culturally rich Ethiopian Orthodox Church felt the need to become more "culturally relevant," and thereby compromised their liturgical language and traditons for the sake of accomadating Western tastes and preferences. I love my Church, and the proud and rich culture that I saw in the Ethiopian Christians was part of what drew me to the Faith. 

Selam
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« Reply #34 on: May 15, 2009, 08:10:09 PM »

...Becoming Orthodox (by Fr Peter Gillquist)...Divine Energy (by Fr Jon E. Braun).
Although I found Becoming Orthodox pretty simplistic, and unoriginal, nonetheless it is decent. And thank you for reminding me of the Divine Energy. I read that one after I became Orthodox, and man was it good! I meant to suggest that one, but couldn't quite remember the name.


How is it "unoriginal"? And why must something be "original" in order for it to be "important", "meaningful", and good for converts? If that was truely their experience then it doesn't matter how "unoriginal" it was. It was true to their life. And not only their life, but the life of a good portion of evangelical America.


You can't count them out.




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« Reply #35 on: May 15, 2009, 08:16:20 PM »

...Becoming Orthodox (by Fr Peter Gillquist)...Divine Energy (by Fr Jon E. Braun).
Although I found Becoming Orthodox pretty simplistic, and unoriginal, nonetheless it is decent.

Unoriginal? It was essentially a memoir of these evangelicals in their journey to the Orthodox Church. How could it be unoriginal? They told their story in their struggle to overcome the theological hurdles they faced. I would agree that it's not deep. But a convert coming to the Church doesn't need meat but rather milk. Frankly, that book has resulted in thousands (including myself) of folks entering the Church. It is what it is and it's not meant to be what it isn't! Ha! Twist that one around for a minute.  Cheesy

Anyway... we're all different so different books are going to be welcomed or not by each of us. Take care.


This is what I was saying. I don't understand the whole "unoriginal" statement either.




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« Reply #36 on: May 15, 2009, 08:31:18 PM »

Quote
Having said that, however, if what you are saying is in fact true, I would run... not walk... from the Orthodox Church

Yes, I think there are threads somewhere about convert turnover and the 5 year cycle.  Maybe people do wake up to the reality that while a lot is great about Orthodoxy, a lot in it is also deeply messed up.

I am not surprised to see Metropolitan Philip take a dig at the "ethnic ghettos".  That's probably why he forbids his priests from wearing traditional Orthodox garb in public or why in an interview I read of his recently he said that while he likes the Byzantine liturgy and is familiar with it, he could see future generations no longer using it because it isn't culturally relevant.  Perhaps he could mention this same thing to Metropolitan Jonah, who in another interview I read with a Russian paper praised Russian culture and how he's been deeply influenced by it.

Some day I imagine many converts will get fed up with the Byzantine past; with poor, pathetic shrinking ethnodoxy and we will get the Saddleback Orthodox church we they seek to bring back many of the things they treasured but left behind.

Moderator subsituted "messed up" for an abbreviate word of profanity not allowed on this forum. Thomas -Convert Issues Forum Moderator

Why can't we have both? Pop American culture keeps changing every 10 to 15 years. What is in today will be out tomorrow. So why would we want to be like that? And why can't we have both an Ethnic ghetto and multi-American  regional ghettos?

I don't understand why we can't preserve both the ethnic ghetto's as well as start new mission's with mostly converts. I don't understand why we can't have both.

For some converts actually love ethnic stuff. While some of the younger cradles may actually love the missions where there are mostly converts.


So let's have both.




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« Reply #37 on: May 15, 2009, 08:41:53 PM »

I love the ethic stuff, like real Byzantine chant vs. Disneyland choirs.
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« Reply #38 on: May 15, 2009, 08:45:02 PM »

Not to be a wet blanket, but most of these books that have been listed on this thread to date are books that every ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN should read, regardless of whether he was born into the faith or came to it later. 

I feel, in many ways, that there is too much emphasis (and I'm talking about Orthodoxy in general) on the whole convert v. cradle mentality.  Isn't an Orthodox Christian Orthodox regardless?

Sorry to rain on anyone's parade.

When you come from different backgrounds, and were tought different things, then you may have questions  or concerns that someone who was raised Orthodox all their life may not have. So it's good to have resources to answer some of these questions. We can't pretend that every convert will have no questions, and concerns.

I guess there are books that we could talk about for All Orthodox, but I don't see a problem with having books that would address the issues that former Anglicans may have....or former evangelicals may have.....or former Roman Catholics may have.....or former Hindu and Buddhists may have........ect.

Because we all have questions, and things from our past, and it's good to see Orthodox books address some of these issues. It's good to have books that we all can relate to in some way form or fashion.

The book "Wade in the River: the story of the African Christian Faith"
http://www.amazon.com/Wade-River-Story-African-Christian/dp/0971636508

Is a book that deals with the African American demo-graphic. Now everyone isn't going to have the same questions and concerns that my people group have, but if it wasn't for books like this, then alot of questions and concerns will just not be answered.....and we will just pretend that these issues don't exist in converts from a certain African American demo-graphic.

And if this is true for my demo-graphic, then what about the demo-graphic of others? They have issues, and questions that are unique to their situation too. So we need books for converts to help them in their walk and to over come certain hurdles.

But converts also need books that are good for all Orthodox as well. So we need both.







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« Reply #39 on: May 15, 2009, 09:06:20 PM »

Quote
Having said that, however, if what you are saying is in fact true, I would run... not walk... from the Orthodox Church

Yes, I think there are threads somewhere about convert turnover and the 5 year cycle.  Maybe people do wake up to the reality that while a lot is great about Orthodoxy, a lot in it is also deeply messed up.

I am not surprised to see Metropolitan Philip take a dig at the "ethnic ghettos".  That's probably why he forbids his priests from wearing traditional Orthodox garb in public or why in an interview I read of his recently he said that while he likes the Byzantine liturgy and is familiar with it, he could see future generations no longer using it because it isn't culturally relevant.  Perhaps he could mention this same thing to Metropolitan Jonah, who in another interview I read with a Russian paper praised Russian culture and how he's been deeply influenced by it.

Some day I imagine many converts will get fed up with the Byzantine past; with poor, pathetic shrinking ethnodoxy and we will get the Saddleback Orthodox church we they seek to bring back many of the things they treasured but left behind.

Moderator subsituted "messed up" for an abbreviate word of profanity not allowed on this forum. Thomas -Convert Issues Forum Moderator

Why can't we have both? Pop American culture keeps changing every 10 to 15 years. What is in today will be out tomorrow. So why would we want to be like that? And why can't we have both an Ethnic ghetto and multi-American  regional ghettos?

I don't understand why we can't preserve both the ethnic ghetto's as well as start new mission's with mostly converts. I don't understand why we can't have both.

For some converts actually love ethnic stuff. While some of the younger cradles may actually love the missions where there are mostly converts.


So let's have both.




JNORM888

Sounds good to me JNORM. Makes perfect sense.

Selam
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« Reply #40 on: May 15, 2009, 09:14:30 PM »

Quote
Having said that, however, if what you are saying is in fact true, I would run... not walk... from the Orthodox Church

Yes, I think there are threads somewhere about convert turnover and the 5 year cycle.  Maybe people do wake up to the reality that while a lot is great about Orthodoxy, a lot in it is also deeply messed up.

I am not surprised to see Metropolitan Philip take a dig at the "ethnic ghettos".  That's probably why he forbids his priests from wearing traditional Orthodox garb in public or why in an interview I read of his recently he said that while he likes the Byzantine liturgy and is familiar with it, he could see future generations no longer using it because it isn't culturally relevant.  Perhaps he could mention this same thing to Metropolitan Jonah, who in another interview I read with a Russian paper praised Russian culture and how he's been deeply influenced by it.

Some day I imagine many converts will get fed up with the Byzantine past; with poor, pathetic shrinking ethnodoxy and we will get the Saddleback Orthodox church we they seek to bring back many of the things they treasured but left behind.

Moderator subsituted "messed up" for an abbreviate word of profanity not allowed on this forum. Thomas -Convert Issues Forum Moderator

Why can't we have both? Pop American culture keeps changing every 10 to 15 years. What is in today will be out tomorrow. So why would we want to be like that? And why can't we have both an Ethnic ghetto and multi-American  regional ghettos?

I don't understand why we can't preserve both the ethnic ghetto's as well as start new mission's with mostly converts. I don't understand why we can't have both.

For some converts actually love ethnic stuff. While some of the younger cradles may actually love the missions where there are mostly converts.


So let's have both.




JNORM888

Sounds good to me JNORM. Makes perfect sense.

Selam

Hey, you should attend this month's conference

http://www.mosestheblack.org/

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7497477830886803115&hl=en

It would be good to see you there.





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« Reply #41 on: May 15, 2009, 09:18:13 PM »

Quote
Having said that, however, if what you are saying is in fact true, I would run... not walk... from the Orthodox Church

Yes, I think there are threads somewhere about convert turnover and the 5 year cycle.  Maybe people do wake up to the reality that while a lot is great about Orthodoxy, a lot in it is also deeply messed up.

I am not surprised to see Metropolitan Philip take a dig at the "ethnic ghettos".  That's probably why he forbids his priests from wearing traditional Orthodox garb in public or why in an interview I read of his recently he said that while he likes the Byzantine liturgy and is familiar with it, he could see future generations no longer using it because it isn't culturally relevant.  Perhaps he could mention this same thing to Metropolitan Jonah, who in another interview I read with a Russian paper praised Russian culture and how he's been deeply influenced by it.

Some day I imagine many converts will get fed up with the Byzantine past; with poor, pathetic shrinking ethnodoxy and we will get the Saddleback Orthodox church we they seek to bring back many of the things they treasured but left behind.

Moderator subsituted "messed up" for an abbreviate word of profanity not allowed on this forum. Thomas -Convert Issues Forum Moderator

I know about the five year hurdle. I'm at the nineteen year point myself.  Wink
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« Reply #42 on: May 15, 2009, 09:20:25 PM »

Why Angels Fall I think is a must read.  I think it captures as best as you can in one work what is present in the church at all times - the angelic and the psychotic.

Looking to read it. 



Terrible user reviews at Amazon. She appeared to have an axe to grind with the Orthodox Church from the very onset of the book since she was not given access to Mount Athos.
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« Reply #43 on: May 15, 2009, 10:00:45 PM »

Here are some of the books I found indespensible:

1. "The Orthodox Church", by Kallistos Ware
2&3. "Facing East' and "At the Corner of East and Now" both by Frederica Mathews-Green.
4. "Beginning to Pray" by Anthony Bloom
5."The Illuminating Icon" by Anthony Ugolnik

"Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis (among other of his books) made the honorable mention, but only because he's not Orthodox.  Wink Nevertheless, Lewis does a great job at apologetics which large numbers of Christians - east and west - can agree on. For someone coming in from an unchurched background, you can do a whole lot worse than good ol' Clive Staples Lewis.

As for "Why Angels Fall", I would NOT recommend this to a new convert. This British author's argument (and the author is not Orthodox) is that "while Western Christianity has lost its heart, Eastern Orthodox Christianity has lost its mind."

Basically, the author of that book sees the Balkans as hopelessly wrenched apart by ethnic hatreds, and that the Orthodox Church had a large part to play in this. So, the central thesis of the book is arguable, (and could be argued against as well) this is not a book to give a person who is looking into what is good and wholesome about the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #44 on: May 15, 2009, 11:32:28 PM »

Here are some of the books I found indespensible:

1. "The Orthodox Church", by Kallistos Ware
2&3. "Facing East' and "At the Corner of East and Now" both by Frederica Mathews-Green.
4. "Beginning to Pray" by Anthony Bloom
5."The Illuminating Icon" by Anthony Ugolnik

"Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis (among other of his books) made the honorable mention, but only because he's not Orthodox.  Wink Nevertheless, Lewis does a great job at apologetics which large numbers of Christians - east and west - can agree on. For someone coming in from an unchurched background, you can do a whole lot worse than good ol' Clive Staples Lewis.

As for "Why Angels Fall", I would NOT recommend this to a new convert. This British author's argument (and the author is not Orthodox) is that "while Western Christianity has lost its heart, Eastern Orthodox Christianity has lost its mind."

Basically, the author of that book sees the Balkans as hopelessly wrenched apart by ethnic hatreds, and that the Orthodox Church had a large part to play in this. So, the central thesis of the book is arguable, (and could be argued against as well) this is not a book to give a person who is looking into what is good and wholesome about the Orthodox Church.

Excellent fecommendations, Eugenio. I particularly enjoyed the Matthewes-Green books.
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« Reply #45 on: May 15, 2009, 11:48:27 PM »

Here are some of the books I found indespensible:

1. "The Orthodox Church", by Kallistos Ware
2&3. "Facing East' and "At the Corner of East and Now" both by Frederica Mathews-Green.
4. "Beginning to Pray" by Anthony Bloom
5."The Illuminating Icon" by Anthony Ugolnik

"Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis (among other of his books) made the honorable mention, but only because he's not Orthodox.  Wink Nevertheless, Lewis does a great job at apologetics which large numbers of Christians - east and west - can agree on. For someone coming in from an unchurched background, you can do a whole lot worse than good ol' Clive Staples Lewis.

As for "Why Angels Fall", I would NOT recommend this to a new convert. This British author's argument (and the author is not Orthodox) is that "while Western Christianity has lost its heart, Eastern Orthodox Christianity has lost its mind."

Basically, the author of that book sees the Balkans as hopelessly wrenched apart by ethnic hatreds, and that the Orthodox Church had a large part to play in this. So, the central thesis of the book is arguable, (and could be argued against as well) this is not a book to give a person who is looking into what is good and wholesome about the Orthodox Church.

C.S. Lewis makes some brilliant logical arguments for the rationality of the Christian Faith, which I loved as a Protestant. However, now that I am Orthodox, I think that it can be dangerous to overly rely on rational apologetics in our proclamation of the Gospel. Our Faith is essentially mystical, which is far more real than the rational.

But I have no doubt that God has used Lewis to bring many people to Christian truth. I think that The Screwtape Letters might be a better suited work for new converts, since it deals excellently with spiritual warfare and exposes many tricks of the devil.

Selam
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« Reply #46 on: May 16, 2009, 05:19:10 AM »

Why Angels Fall I think is a must read.  I think it captures as best as you can in one work what is present in the church at all times - the angelic and the psychotic.

Looking to read it. 



Terrible user reviews at Amazon. She appeared to have an axe to grind with the Orthodox Church from the very onset of the book since she was not given access to Mount Athos.

Amazon reviews are hit and miss, but what I find more telling is that I could find no book reviews on JSTOR for this book. 
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« Reply #47 on: May 16, 2009, 07:33:19 AM »

Quote
As for "Why Angels Fall", I would NOT recommend this to a new convert. This British author's argument (and the author is not Orthodox) is that "while Western Christianity has lost its heart, Eastern Orthodox Christianity has lost its mind."

Yes, indeed, not to be recommended.  See message #50 in this thread.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20179.msg312540.html#msg312540

The authorerss also interviewed a friend of mine, Fr Benedict of the Monastery-Seminary of Krka, and he complained that she misrepresented his answers to her
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« Reply #48 on: May 16, 2009, 10:35:13 AM »


I'll buy them and start evangelizing south central Tennessee right away.
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« Reply #49 on: May 16, 2009, 05:07:31 PM »

I'll buy them and start evangelizing south central Tennessee right away.

Where in south central Tennessee is a Western Rite Orthodox Church?  The closest church to where I'm at is a Serbian Church in Decatur, AL and an Antiochian in Franklin.
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« Reply #50 on: May 17, 2009, 11:17:34 PM »

Not an essential book for new converts, but a book that I enjoyed (because it had a bried historical description about the early Russian missions to North America) was "Orthodox Alaska: A Theology of Mission" by Michael Oleksa.
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« Reply #51 on: May 18, 2009, 12:39:47 AM »



Perfect for converts!  Do you know that you know that you know?
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« Reply #52 on: May 18, 2009, 04:40:43 AM »



Perfect for converts!  Do you know that you know that you know?

I am originally from Atlanta, GA and was once a member of Charles Stanley's Church. He is a great preacher and I still enjoy listening to him on the radio. But I would certainly not recommend his books to new Orthodox converts! The doctrine of "eternal security" and the question of whether or not a person can "lose their salvation" are not dealt with in an Orthodox manner by Protestants. New converts to Orthodoxy will be very misled by Protestant teachings on such matters. I would advise that new converts stay completely away from any unOrthodox readings until they become steeped in Orthodox theology and doctrine. Just my opinion.

Selam
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« Reply #53 on: May 18, 2009, 09:21:38 AM »

Many of the people on this forum have listed basic books that everyone should read and this list I think is great. It is also important that each catechumen also be encouraged to read books in areas of their interest.  For this I would recommend getting with your pastor or catechumen director to discuss areas that are of interest to the catechumen/new convert for some directed reading on specific subjects---this entails not only reading but discussing and processing your reading with your pastor or catechumen director. This is what we do in my parish and it works well in deepening the new convert.  For adult members of the parish we also hold books studies over several books a year where adults read and discuss the books as a way of getting and maintaining an Orthodox World view that they can use in their everyday interactions with the secular world.

Thomas
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« Reply #54 on: May 18, 2009, 02:48:57 PM »

He is a great preacher and I still enjoy listening to him on the radio. But I would certainly not recommend his books to new Orthodox converts! The doctrine of "eternal security" and the question of whether or not a person can "lose their salvation" are not dealt with in an Orthodox manner by Protestants. New converts to Orthodoxy will be very misled by Protestant teachings on such matters. I would advise that new converts stay completely away from any unOrthodox readings until they become steeped in Orthodox theology and doctrine. Just my opinion.

Sorry, I was being sarcastic.
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« Reply #55 on: May 18, 2009, 02:56:57 PM »

I'll buy them and start evangelizing south central Tennessee right away.

Good, they could probably use a grounding in history.
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« Reply #56 on: May 18, 2009, 03:49:28 PM »

He is a great preacher and I still enjoy listening to him on the radio. But I would certainly not recommend his books to new Orthodox converts! The doctrine of "eternal security" and the question of whether or not a person can "lose their salvation" are not dealt with in an Orthodox manner by Protestants. New converts to Orthodoxy will be very misled by Protestant teachings on such matters. I would advise that new converts stay completely away from any unOrthodox readings until they become steeped in Orthodox theology and doctrine. Just my opinion.

Sorry, I was being sarcastic.

I suspected as much. But we have to be careful, because a lot of new converts and seekers probably visit this forum. I will always love Dr. Stanley, but no Orthodox person should look to him for theological or doctrinal instruction. Listen to him for his spiritual edification and practical wisdom, but don't base your theology on him!

Selam
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« Reply #57 on: May 18, 2009, 04:56:45 PM »

I would also highly recommend this.

The Icon and the Axe: An Interpretive History of Russian Culture
http://www.amazon.com/Icon-Axe-Interpretive-History-Russian/dp/0844667544/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242680050&sr=8-1
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« Reply #58 on: December 13, 2010, 12:06:20 AM »

Hate to bump an old thread, but I greatly appreciate the suggestions here regarding new converts. I'll add this to my wishlist in the near future.
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« Reply #59 on: December 13, 2010, 12:54:50 AM »

He is a great preacher and I still enjoy listening to him on the radio. But I would certainly not recommend his books to new Orthodox converts! The doctrine of "eternal security" and the question of whether or not a person can "lose their salvation" are not dealt with in an Orthodox manner by Protestants. New converts to Orthodoxy will be very misled by Protestant teachings on such matters. I would advise that new converts stay completely away from any unOrthodox readings until they become steeped in Orthodox theology and doctrine. Just my opinion.

Sorry, I was being sarcastic.

I suspected as much. But we have to be careful, because a lot of new converts and seekers probably visit this forum. I will always love Dr. Stanley, but no Orthodox person should look to him for theological or doctrinal instruction. Listen to him for his spiritual edification and practical wisdom, but don't base your theology on him!

Selam
My thanks to Selam---REMEMBER,we DO have to be careful, a lot of new converts and seekers DO visit this forum, try to avoid sarcasm or double innuendos, many converts and seekers do not get these due to their newness to Orthodoxy and its teachings---they sometimes think your comments are fact not fun.

Once again thanks to Selam for his wisdom!

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« Reply #60 on: December 13, 2010, 01:10:24 AM »

I'm gonna give five experiences that helped me, none of them books.

1. Approachable member or two of the congregation.
2. A man (because I'm a man) willing to mentor me.
3. A priest who genuinely listens.
4. Honesty.
5. Desire.
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« Reply #61 on: December 13, 2010, 03:01:05 AM »

After being Orthodox for 3 years and 8 months I would still consider myself as being a new convert. And so I would say for new converts like myself who are still new to the faith but have been in it for some years.

http://www.amazon.com/Free-Choice-Saint-Maximus-Confessor/dp/1878997025/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1292223071&sr=1-1 (Free Choice in Saint Maximus the Confessor) by Joseph P. Farrell (extremely hard to find. I had to get it at the library)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/097456186X?ie=UTF8&tag=piousfabric-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=097456186X (Early Christian Attitudes Toward Images) by Steven Bigham

and

http://www.amazon.com/Unity-Christ-Saint-Cyril-Alexandria/dp/0881411337/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1292223173&sr=1-1 (On the Unity of Christ) by John Anthony McGuckin



A Scholarly Orthodox Christian needs to make a book similar to the one of the Roman Catholic scholar Leo Donald Davis and his:

http://www.amazon.com/First-Seven-Ecumenical-Councils-325-787/dp/0814656161/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1292223899&sr=1-1 (The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787): Their History and Theology)

We need someone like Dr. Jeffrey Macdonald to write one:
http://www.orthodoxchurchhistory.com/ (Orthodox Church History)


A nice study guide about the Divine Liturgy(someone already made a nice one, but I don't know if it's in print yet, I have a copy of the ruff draft) as well as a better edition of the Orthodox Study Bible (I'd prefer one that used a mixture of KJV English, with 19th century Elizabethan English with modern standard English).
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« Reply #62 on: December 13, 2010, 03:03:12 AM »

I'm gonna give five experiences that helped me, none of them books.

1. Approachable member or two of the congregation.
2. A man (because I'm a man) willing to mentor me.
3. A priest who genuinely listens.
4. Honesty.
5. Desire.


Maybe you could start a new thread about 5 experiences. This thread is about books!
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« Reply #63 on: December 16, 2010, 07:34:02 AM »

Bread & Water, Wine & Oil: An Orthodox Christian Experience of God

http://www.amazon.com/Bread-Water-Wine-Oil-Experience/dp/1888212918

Any thoughts on this book?
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« Reply #64 on: December 16, 2010, 12:26:16 PM »

This is not meant to be sarcastic:

Mark
Matthew
Luke

in that order

the Psalms

and the Orthodox Way

Fr. Seraphim of Patina? Really? Head scratcher there.

And why don't the mods enforce referring to Fr. Seraphim of Patina properly. He is not Fr. Seraphim Rose according to my understanding of how monastics are referred to. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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« Reply #65 on: December 16, 2010, 12:28:32 PM »

Why is that a headscratcher? That book seems to be widely accepted as an initial teaching in Orthodoxy, why do you feel it is not?

I agree with your reading in the Bible in that order from Mark, Matthew and then Luke. I'd save Romans and Revelation for last.
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« Reply #66 on: December 16, 2010, 06:31:22 PM »

1) The Apostolic Fathers by Michael W. Holmes
2) The Arena by +Ignatius Brianchaninov
3) Against False Union by Alexander Kalomiros
4) The Way of the Pilgrim
5) The Law of God by Fr. Serafim Slobodskoi

6) The Soul after Death by Fr. Seraphim Rose
7) Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Fr. Michael Pomazansky
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« Reply #67 on: December 16, 2010, 06:56:00 PM »

The Holy Gospel
The Holy Psalter
Father Arseny
The Brothers Karamazov
Abbot Nikon's Letters to Spiritual Children (The letters of Fr. John Krestiankin and Fr. John of Valaam would also be good here.)

For converts, for cradles, for young and old, for those stranded on desert islands, etc.
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« Reply #68 on: December 16, 2010, 09:01:27 PM »

7) Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Fr. Michael Pomazansky

I just started this one. I should have read it years ago!
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« Reply #69 on: December 17, 2010, 05:31:09 AM »

Hope to read the Orthodox Church soon by Met Ware. (that is his title right?)
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« Reply #70 on: December 17, 2010, 05:45:44 AM »

Quote

The Soul after Death by Fr. Seraphim Rose


Avoid!   You will encounter some priests who treat it as Orthodox doctrine.  You will encounter other priests who see it as a gross aberration of Orthodox doctrine.

In other words, its contents are controversial within Orthodoxy and must not be considered as universal Orthodox teaching.
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« Reply #71 on: December 17, 2010, 02:36:10 PM »

GK Chesterton wrote, among other things, a book called Orthodoxy. Although he is not talking about the Orthodox church he quite easily could be. All his books are worth reading and so I am surprised he gets no mention.

I believe there is a movement to beatify him in the RCC. From reading about him and reading him he comes over as a thoroughly lovely man and maybe deserving of the RCC's higher accolades. His works don't, however,jar on Orthodox sensibilities
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« Reply #72 on: December 17, 2010, 02:40:56 PM »

"Journals" of Fr. Alexander Schmemann. Every line is worth reading and pondering on, I believe. I am not sure, however, have they ever been translated into English. The Russian original is here, http://krotov.info/libr_min/25_sh/shme/man_41.htm#1
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« Reply #73 on: December 17, 2010, 03:12:45 PM »

The Orthodox Way by Met. Ware was the first remotely Orthodox book I ever read.  I read it for a Russian history class in college.  It planted the Orthodox seed. (Also, for the same class I had to read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich--another interesting tome)

The Apostolic Fathers are what changed me from Protestant to Orthodox in my thinking.  

I liked the Gallatin book very much.

The Way by Carlton was also pretty good.  

Both the books  about Father Arseny (Priest, Prisoner, Spiritual Father and Cloud of Witnesses) should be required reading.

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« Reply #74 on: December 17, 2010, 03:27:47 PM »

For the time being I think that devotional literature tends to be more edifying that book about dogmatics. Therefore I picked:

1) His Life is mine by Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)
2) Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works by Hieromonk Damascene
3) Ecclesiasticus by God
4) The Orthodox way by Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware)
5) Way of the Ascetics by Tito Colliander

Not in any specific order though.

EDIT: Right. I should have read the OP first. So no Scriptures. Substitute Ecclesiasticus with some book about Saints. I'd pick some book about Mother Xenia of Petersburg or maybe Vita Patrum by St. Gregory of Tours.
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