Author Topic: Five books every convert must read!  (Read 10671 times)

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Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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.  ;) 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
« Last Edit: May 15, 2009, 11:49:56 PM by Gebre Menfes Kidus »
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Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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. 

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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

Offline Reader KevinAndrew

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« Reply #48 on: May 16, 2009, 10:35:13 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





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

Offline Gabriel

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2009, 05:07:57 PM by Gabriel »
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Offline Eugenio

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« Reply #51 on: May 18, 2009, 12:39:47 AM »


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

Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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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Offline Thomas

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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.

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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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.

Offline AMM

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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.

Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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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Offline AMM

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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

Offline Shiny

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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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Offline Thomas

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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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Offline authio

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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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Offline jnorm888

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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).
« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 03:21:38 AM by jnorm888 »
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Offline jnorm888

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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!
"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

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Offline Shiny

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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.

If you have PMed me, the mods have taken my ability to PM away. Please see my email if you wish to contact me during my time of trial.

Offline Shiny

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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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Offline Punch

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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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Offline stavros_388

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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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Offline MyMapleStory

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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?)

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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.

Offline Aidan

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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

Offline Heorhij

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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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Offline ComingHome

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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.

« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 03:14:04 PM by ComingHome »

Offline Alpo

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Re: Five books every convert must read!
« 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.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2010, 03:41:42 PM by Alpo »
The user should probably be sleeping by now.