Author Topic: Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life  (Read 4213 times)

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Offline sinjinsmythe

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Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« on: December 01, 2002, 04:20:22 PM »
Reading through the thread of 'novels that have changed/affected your spiritual life' brought this to mind.  What books have made a difference or better yet influenced your spiritual life?

A few books that I have read that have helped me greatly are:

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.  All I can say is that this book is great book and a wonderful Christian apologetic work that helped to secure my Christian faith while going through college.

Youth of The Apocalypse  I don't know the names of the authors but this book was written by two Orthodox monks at St. Herman of Alaska monastery.  It is published by St. Herman's Press.  This book is a must read especially for adults in their twenties and early thirties.  This book is the first one I have found that really sums up the state of the modern world today.  I highly recommend this book.

Turning the Heart to God by St. Theophan the Recluse.  I have not finished this book yet but this is an excellent one especially for those in repentance.  The book's main subject is on repentance and it is the best one I have found for those who have fallen away from the church and now returning back.
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Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2002, 10:34:47 PM »
The Way of a Pilgrim is of course very good the first Orthodox spiritual book I read.  I just finished Ascending the heights by Father John Mack and would highly recomend it.  It is a "layman's guide to the Ladder of Divine Ascent."  That with the guidance of my spiritual Father has been great at opening up the path of Orthodox spirituality to me.  


Offline Linus7

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2003, 01:21:08 AM »
I am not trying to sound overly pious, but I would have to say the Bible has been the most influential book (or collection of books) for me, especially the four Gospels.

After that, Clark Carlton's The Way: What Every Protestant Should Know About the Orthodox Church was very influential in my conversion, as was Anthony Coniaris' Introducing the Orthodox Church and Timothy Ware's standard, The Orthodox Church.

The Truth of Our Faith, by the Elder Cleopa Ilie of Romania, is one of my favorite books and inspired me to get involved in Orthodox Apologetics. What a power-packed book! What a great saint and holy confessor, with a mind like a steel trap!

I also dearly love St. John Maximovitch's The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God.

I am sure other books will come to mind and I will post to this thread again.  ;D
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Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2003, 04:07:52 PM »
Has anybody else here read Counsels From the Holy Mountain by Elder Ephraim?  I just finished reading it, and it was VERY good.  It gave me a good idea of how to apply some monastic ideals (i.e constant prayer, obediance etc.) to my life in the secular world.  It is a very good read.  I especially recomend it for those who are wary of Elder Ephraim's monasteries...you'll soon see he is not what his slanderers make him out to be.

Another good book I am part of the way through is An Athonite Gerondtikon by Archimandrite Ioannikios.  If you love the Holy Mountain and tales of monasticism, this for you.  It has some great spiritual insight.

Offline Frobie

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2003, 03:15:55 PM »
I know most people won't like it, but I really liked the JP2 biography Witness to Hope by George Weigel. Maybe not for the Orthodox, but certainly an inspiring story about the fall of Communism and the Christian Witness in the 3rd Millennium.

For the Orthodox, there's Fr. Seraphim Rose's The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church. Now I'm reading On Marriage and Family Life by St. John Chrysostom, which is also quite good.

Matt

Offline Asteriktos

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2003, 06:33:32 PM »
The book that has had the biggest impact on me was "Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ" by Justin Popovich. It helped me get past my tendency (picked up as a Wesleyan) of viewing the Church as an human institution. As Wesleyans we said that the Church was an "organism," but we meant something very different than Orthodox Christians mean. When you finally "get it," Orthodox ecclesiology (especially as seen in Khomiakov, Popovich, etc.) knocks you off your feet.

Offline Linus7

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2003, 12:49:11 AM »
Another excellent book is Salt of the Earth, by St. Paul Florensky.

I tells the story of the Russian Elder Isidore of Gethsemane Hermitage.

Isidore was St. Paul's Staretz. He was a beautiful Christian, a simple man, but with great mystical insight. Isidore's love for others marked him as a true saint.

If you get a chance to read this little book, I think it will do you good.

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Offline mousethief

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2003, 12:02:16 AM »
I love St. Clive of Magdalen(e) but my fave (non-fiction) book of his is probably God in the Dock. Had a great influence on me when I was a fledgeling Protestant.

Also from that time of my life books that really influenced me include Your God is Too Small by I think J.B. Phillips, and The Way of a Pilgrim in the "French" translation (i.e. the English translation by the person named French). Which I read very early on, and which sat in the back of my soul like a glowing ember until it finally burst into flame and I decided to become Orthodox.

Which was caused by a lot of things, but the immediate, proximate cause was the book The Orthodox Way by Bishop Kallistos Ware.

Since becoming Orthodox the book that has spoken most loudly and fluently to my heart has been Father Arseny: Priest Prisoner Spiritual Father. Wow. If you haven't read that one may I highly recommend it.

Reader Alexis
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Offline Linus7

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2003, 01:40:55 AM »
I just finished T.L. Frazier's A Second Look at the Second Coming.

Excellent book!

If you are at all interested in eschatology and fed up with the Left Behind and Late Great Planet Earth sort of drivel, try Frazier's book. It provides a real Orthodox perspective.
The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas

Offline Elisha

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2003, 02:38:40 AM »
I just finished T.L. Frazier's A Second Look at the Second Coming.

Excellent book!

If you are at all interested in eschatology and fed up with the Left Behind and Late Great Planet Earth sort of drivel, try Frazier's book. It provides a real Orthodox perspective.

My foster mom (don't ask - long story, had to do with old EOC days) reads Left Behind.   ::)

Offline Linus7

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2003, 08:47:08 PM »
Quote
From Elisha: My foster mom (don't ask - long story, had to do with old EOC days) reads Left Behind.

Oi!  ???

I keep waiting for the sequels to the Left Behind series: Right Behind and The Crack of Doom.  ;)
The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas

Offline QuoVadis

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2003, 06:51:04 AM »
Hello everyone,

I have found that, apart from the Bible, every Orthodox book I have picked up lately has made an impact on my life due to the fact that I've never read anything like these books before, written by the fathers of our Church.  I have come from a Protestant background, but Protestant Christian books do not compare to Orthodox books.

Two books that have really made an impact in my new Orthodox life have been the autobiography of Abbess Thaisia, and also "Letters to a Beginner" by Abbess Thaisia.  Her letters, not just to women looking to be, or are nuns, would be helpful for any Christian.

Joy in the Resurrected Christ!
Katherine
"Without sorrows there is no salvation. On the other hand, the Kingdom of God awaits those who have patiently endured. And all the glory of the world is nothing in comparison." - St Seraphim of Sarov

Offline Anastasios

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2003, 11:37:40 AM »
Quote
From Elisha: My foster mom (don't ask - long story, had to do with old EOC days) reads Left Behind.

Oi!  ???

I keep waiting for the sequels to the Left Behind series: Right Behind and The Crack of Doom.  ;)  

Funny, I thought the sequal was called, Oh man, what a dream!.

Or what would be even more hilarious would be (now this is not an endorsement of RCism, merely a joke as Fundies are so opposed to Catholicism but not aware really of Orthodoxy): at the rapture, as they are floating up in the clouds, Jesus tells the fundies, "oh by the way, the Orthodox and Roman Catholics were right!  Sacramental systems are cool!"  :D

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Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism and may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching. Also, I served as an Orthodox priest from 2008-2013, before resigning.

Offline Raouf

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2003, 11:54:13 AM »
Friends,

Two books that come to mind:

Follow Me by Bishop Augoustinos of Florina

"This book consists of important reflections on Christ’s call to His disciples to work in His Vineyard, and how this call is relevant to us today. "

Communion of Love by Fr. Matthew the Poor

In Christ,
Raouf
Flog your enemies with the Name of Jesus and let the remembrance of Jesus be present with each breath. - St. John Climacus

Hypo-Ortho

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2003, 01:40:33 PM »
Friends,

Two books that come to mind:

Follow Me by Bishop Augoustinos of Florina

"This book consists of important reflections on Christ’s call to His disciples to work in His Vineyard, and how this call is relevant to us today. "

Communion of Love by Fr. Matthew the Poor

In Christ,
Raouf

I read "Communion of Love" by Monk Matthew the Poor some years ago, Raouf, and was struck by the deep spirituality and uncompromising Orthodoxy of Fr. Matthew's words.  In no wise did I find his Coptic OOxy any different from my EOxy, at least in this book.  I highly recommend this book for all Christians of whatever stripe--I no longer have my copy (I donated it to the parish library of my former parish), but I remember buying it at the SVS Bookstore.

Hypo-Ortho

Offline Raouf

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2003, 05:47:45 PM »
Hypo-Ortho,

You may be interested to know that Fr. Matthew the Poor's monumental work on Orthodox Prayer Life will be released by SVS Press on July 15, 2003.  This work is famous in Arabic (which I don't read) and has been recently translated into English and published by SVS Press.

Fr. Matthew's own theological insight and sprirituality is shaped by many of the great Russian saints of the last several hundred years as well as the Philokalia.

As such, his writings should come accross as very familiar to those in the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

In Christ,
Raouf
Flog your enemies with the Name of Jesus and let the remembrance of Jesus be present with each breath. - St. John Climacus

Offline Aaron

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2003, 11:06:48 PM »
I'm so glad somebody else mentioned the "Father Arseny" book. "Wow" is exactly what I said, too! It has to be by far the most moving, life-changing book I've ever read. I was a catechumen at the time and had been doing a ton of reading, but had gotten myself bogged down in a lot of abstract theological books, and then this book suddenly brought everything down to earth and made it all very clear to me, as far as what the Orthodox faith is really about. Father Arseny is a good role model and example for anyone to try to follow. I also think that book is a good way to introduce other people to Orthodox spirituality -- especially if they're jaded about Christianity after having bad experiences with Roman Catholic or Protestant churches. I keep buying new copies of that book because I'm always giving them away. The sequel is good, too, but apparently out of print and hard to find. Fortunately my church has it in its library!

Offline Frobie

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2003, 10:09:04 AM »
Anybody read O Death, Where is Thy Sting by Fr. Alexander Schmemann? I read it last weekend in one sitting. It is a collection addresses on death and Pascha. He addresses the fear of death, showing that the modern world has gone into the Platonic acceptance of death--"It's going to happen anyway.".

Christ, however, wept at the death of Lazarus. And St. Paul calls death "the last enemy." Fr. Alexander shows that we need to not welcome death as Socrates did, but we need to realize death in the light of man's fall and Christ's glorious resurrection, so that we may "Trample on death by death." The latter was the title of a chapter taken from For the Life of the World which I haven't read yet.  

O Death, Where is Thy Sting? is an excellent book for explaining Orthodoxy to those of the agnostic mindset, especially if they do not live in fear of death and believe that Christianity is a myth to "comfort" those who fear it (Which it is not. Christ wept. He never said, "Oh well, Lazarus is in heaven now.").

A well-written book all around. I hope to check out more from Fr. Alexander pretty soon.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2003, 10:07:34 PM by Frobisher »

Offline sinjinsmythe

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2003, 08:11:29 PM »
Frohbisher thank you for the book recommendation. I will have to check it out.
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Offline Frobie

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Re:Books that have made a difference in your spiritual life
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2003, 10:11:02 PM »
Sure, Sinjin. It's a pretty short book, so I would be wary of buying a copy, but it is also one worth reading several times. I managed to find a copy the university library. God bless you.

Matt