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Author Topic: Why aren't the Orthodox more upset over the other denominations?  (Read 2761 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 22, 2010, 12:58:10 AM »

From the research I have conducted and it's theology, the Orthodox Church being the first chuch...why is it that Orthodox haven't been more vocal against the other denominations which try to speak the truth of Christ? Is it just un-Christian like?

I was conversing with a friend of mine who is Antiochian Orthodox, and he doesn't like to pass judgment on others. But for me it's like I want to spread the good word that the original Church is still active after 20 centuries.

I see these multiplicites in the Protestant faith and I just shake my head, but more so it makes me angry. I was once a Protestant myself, but obviously I have some habits I am trying to get rid of, and I don't understand why people don't want the truth of Christ? You know actually go back in history and discover it. I once had a friend who only went to church because of the friends he made, it was that moment and various others which made me really discern the actual teachings of Christ.

If we are so passionate about something, I'm at a loss why the faith isn't spread out more. Are people really that afraid to practice humility and repent for their sins and honestly think they can get around the cross by just living good Christian lives?
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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2010, 01:03:10 AM »

From the research I have conducted and it's theology, the Orthodox Church being the first chuch...why is it that Orthodox haven't been more vocal against the other denominations which try to speak the truth of Christ? Is it just un-Christian like?

I was conversing with a friend of mine who is Antiochian Orthodox, and he doesn't like to pass judgment on others. But for me it's like I want to spread the good word that the original Church is still active after 20 centuries.

I see these multiplicites in the Protestant faith and I just shake my head, but more so it makes me angry. I was once a Protestant myself, but obviously I have some habits I am trying to get rid of, and I don't understand why people don't want the truth of Christ? You know actually go back in history and discover it. I once had a friend who only went to church because of the friends he made, it was that moment and various others which made me really discern the actual teachings of Christ.

If we are so passionate about something, I'm at a loss why the faith isn't spread out more. Are people really that afraid to practice humility and repent for their sins and honestly think they can get around the cross by just living good Christian lives?
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« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2010, 01:08:25 AM »

Ialmisry may I ask, from the Orthodox perspective, we can never be 'sinless' right? What I mean by that is being Orthodox you still make mistakes correct?

I guess I never really liked the Protestant version of repentence, they claim God knows them in their hearts and only confess 'internally'. But is that truly a reinforcment of turning away from Sin and being more like Christ? And to me it's like you pick and choose what you consider to be a sin it seems like, I don't know not confessing aloud just doesn't work IMO.
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« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2010, 01:15:42 AM »

Ialmisry may I ask, from the Orthodox perspective, we can never be 'sinless' right? What I mean by that is being Orthodox you still make mistakes correct?
As the Fathers say, we fall and get up, we fall and we get up,....It is the nature of angels not to fall, the nature of man to fall and get up, the nature of demons to fall and not get up.


Quote
I guess I never really liked the Protestant version of repentence, they claim God knows them in their hearts and only confess 'internally'. But is that truly a reinforcment of turning away from Sin and being more like Christ? And to me it's like you pick and choose what you consider to be a sin it seems like, I don't know not confessing aloud just doesn't work IMO.
Self justification is harder when God provides you with a witness, i.e. the priest.
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« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2010, 02:09:44 AM »

"...why is it that Orthodox haven't been more vocal against the other denominations which try to speak the truth of Christ?"

The Orthodox do not presume to know the mind of God. Other denominations think they can speak for Him.  We don't.
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« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2010, 02:13:51 AM »

"...why is it that Orthodox haven't been more vocal against the other denominations which try to speak the truth of Christ?"

The Orthodox do not presume to know the mind of God. Other denominations think they can speak for Him.  We don't.

But isn't the Orthodox Church influnced by the Holy Spirit? I understand we cannot know God, but if the Church is influenced by the Spirit and of the NT, then isn't that technically speaking on God's behalf?
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« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2010, 10:35:41 AM »

Quote
If we are so passionate about something, I'm at a loss why the faith isn't spread out more. Are people really that afraid to practice humility and repent for their sins and honestly think they can get around the cross by just living good Christian lives?

A couple thoughts here... first, I don't our goal should ever to be to focus on Protestants. There are many, many people who are completely unchurched and need the truth of Christ. Second, it's rather difficult to convince a Protestant that the Orthodox Church is the THE Church. They are skeptical of such claims anyway, they hold very firmly to sola scriptura, and Orthodoxy seems "too Catholic" to them - and that's not a good thing at all in their opinion. I don't see any reason to debate these things unless the other party is interested in a friendly discussion, otherwise you will quickly put people on the defensive and turn them off. I think that in such cases it would be better to pray for them and to let your own life be a witness to them.

There certainly are Protestants who practice humility and repent for their sins - like your Antiochian friend, I think we have to be careful not to judge.
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« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2010, 12:25:02 PM »

"But isn't the Orthodox Church influnced by the Holy Spirit? I understand we cannot know God, but if the Church is influenced by the Spirit and of the NT, then isn't that technically speaking on God's behalf?"

It is indeed true that we are influenced by the Holy Spirit, but we would be rash to presume that it's anything but an influence. We are all imperfect and our understanding of things is, consequently, imperfect. I said above that we cannot know the mind of God. To believe we have perfect understanding is hubris.

Orthodoxy is not without irony: we believe we possess the fullness of Christ's message, but we draw the line at reading His mind. We suspect we know who He will save, but we are not absolutely certain. It's a degree of uncertainty that we accept. I don't know if I have explained it correctly, but to my knowledge, Orthodoxy is not rigid, inflexible and intolerant. Orthodox triumphalism is an easy hole to fall into.
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« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2010, 01:08:55 PM »

But isn't the Orthodox Church influnced by the Holy Spirit? I understand we cannot know God, but if the Church is influenced by the Spirit and of the NT, then isn't that technically speaking on God's behalf?

Yes, but how would such a thing happen?  All of the Orthodox Churches convene in one place an issue a statement against Protestants?  Would that really accomplish anything?
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« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2010, 10:50:26 PM »

I guess it wouldn't accomplish anything however as someone who wants to renew their faith in Christianity, look at all the seperations within the faith. It's repulsive in my opinion, it's too confusing. Where is the truth? It's as if Satan himself did it on purpose to somehow 'cloud' the truth of Christ.

I mean look at it, you have Mormons who claim they are Christians; JW's claim they are Christians; Christian Science who claim they are Christian; and you even have non-denominational churches who claim they are.

In short it's ridiculous. I have a question to ask. Don't you think God grieves over the seperation in faith? Wouldn't that make him angry?
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« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2010, 11:09:08 PM »

Don't get me wrong, I share your frustration.  I just don't understand what can really be done about it besides what has already been suggested: lead by example.  Issuing decrees or making anti-non-Orthodox things part of our witness isn't going to do anything.  Being angry isn't even going to do anything.  We just need to be the Church and it will be made evident soon enough.
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« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2010, 09:08:56 PM »

From the research I have conducted and it's theology, the Orthodox Church being the first chuch...why is it that Orthodox haven't been more vocal against the other denominations which try to speak the truth of Christ? Is it just un-Christian like?

I was conversing with a friend of mine who is Antiochian Orthodox, and he doesn't like to pass judgment on others. But for me it's like I want to spread the good word that the original Church is still active after 20 centuries.


Basic rationale I believe: Humility vs. pride and vanity
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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2010, 03:59:41 PM »

Ialmisry may I ask, from the Orthodox perspective, we can never be 'sinless' right? What I mean by that is being Orthodox you still make mistakes correct?

I guess I never really liked the Protestant version of repentence, they claim God knows them in their hearts and only confess 'internally'. But is that truly a reinforcment of turning away from Sin and being more like Christ? And to me it's like you pick and choose what you consider to be a sin it seems like, I don't know not confessing aloud just doesn't work IMO.


James 5:16-Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
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« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2010, 04:10:43 PM »

To answer the OP one of the things that really made protestantism distasteful to me over the years was the constant rock throwing amongst the various faiths and segments of faiths. It's almost a cottage industry. It goes far beyond genuine concern. I'm right, you're wrong pridefulness rules the day in that arena. I can't help but wonder how many people are turned away by attitudes like that.

If I need to tear someone else down to make myself attractive, I'm prolly not that attractive to begin with.
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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2010, 04:14:59 PM »

To answer the OP one of the things that really made protestantism distasteful to me over the years was the constant rock throwing amongst the various faiths and segments of faiths. It's almost a cottage industry. It goes far beyond genuine concern. I'm right, you're wrong pridefulness rules the day in that arena. I can't help but wonder how many people are turned away by attitudes like that.

If I need to tear someone else down to make myself attractive, I'm prolly not that attractive to begin with.
Yes, one of things you'll love about Orthodox Christian circles and discussions is absolutely no arrogance towards other groups. (Heavy sarcasm here)
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« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2010, 05:34:20 PM »

"...why is it that Orthodox haven't been more vocal against the other denominations which try to speak the truth of Christ?"

The Orthodox do not presume to know the mind of God. Other denominations think they can speak for Him.  We don't.
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The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about  himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

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« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2010, 05:48:41 PM »

I can't help but wonder how many people are turned away by attitudes like that.

Far more than people realise. Far more.
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« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2010, 07:42:02 PM »

To answer the OP one of the things that really made protestantism distasteful to me over the years was the constant rock throwing amongst the various faiths and segments of faiths. It's almost a cottage industry. It goes far beyond genuine concern. I'm right, you're wrong pridefulness rules the day in that arena. I can't help but wonder how many people are turned away by attitudes like that.

If I need to tear someone else down to make myself attractive, I'm prolly not that attractive to begin with.

I grew up in a Greek orthodox church in the Chicago area . I also play in bands at Greek weddings for 30 years all around the Midwest, and I never was exposed to this kind of "we are better than them" attitude very much to have effected me like you were. I am not saying that they are not prejudiced, only that it is not done in an open way like I have seen others doing more recently in person, not online.

I have a open attitude, i will pray with any group that is saying the lords prayer or reading from the Gospel.

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« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2010, 09:36:02 PM »

I am not saying that they are not prejudiced, only that it is not done in an open way like I have seen others doing more recently in person, not online.

That's the thing. It's going to happen no matter where you go, but my last day in a baptist church was the day they announced the next week they were going to have a special preacher come in that specializes in telling people why Jews, Mormons, rostafarians and left handed relief pitchers are all going to hell over their incorrect doctrine. This is being done from the pulpit.

On the other hand I have heard many Orthodox clergy specifically discourage this kind of divisiveness.

Now, I am in a unique position where I get to ask certain members of the general public what if anything they know about God. It pains me to my core to see how many people in this country (U.S.) have had no exposure to Christ whatsoever. None. They are not averse to it. They have no objections at all. (If I could bold I would bold this) No one has ever offered it to them.

Go ye therefore and throw rocks at those that you disagree with just isn't attractive to me at all.
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« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2010, 08:53:40 PM »

I guess it wouldn't accomplish anything however as someone who wants to renew their faith in Christianity, look at all the seperations within the faith. It's repulsive in my opinion, it's too confusing. Where is the truth? It's as if Satan himself did it on purpose to somehow 'cloud' the truth of Christ.


Take it one step at a time. You are a former protestant right? You know what helped convince you, right? Well, roll up your sleeves and get to work. You don't have to go all out, but just start slow and do what you can. A little here and a little there, and before you know it, you will get better and better at trying to reach the ones you are trying to reach.



Quote
I mean look at it, you have Mormons who claim they are Christians; JW's claim they are Christians; Christian Science who claim they are Christian; and you even have non-denominational churches who claim they are.

In short it's ridiculous.

I agree, it is ridiculous. Which is why I am doing what I can.

I read somewhere that it was easier to convert the pagans than it was the Arians. My guess is that the Arians probably already thought they were Christians. This is why it's going to be hard. But like I said, you are a former protestant and so you already know how to reach some protestants. You may not be able to reach all protestants, but you can reach some. I will let those who use to be nonchristian to worry about reaching the nonChristian. They have experience in that area......we don't. Now I'm not saying we can't try. I'm just saying that it's probably easier to focus on what you know. We both know what we use to be and so it's only natural that we first focus on reaching those from our own background.

There are two different kinds of protestants. You have the Restorationists, and then you have the Reformationists. And so it's good to know what the groups are and what they believe. For knowing is half the battle!



 
Quote
I have a question to ask. Don't you think God grieves over the seperation in faith? Wouldn't that make him angry?

Yes, I believe it does. So get to work. Roll up your sleeves and do what you can when you can. Even if it's a little at a time.




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« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2010, 09:41:06 PM »

To answer the OP one of the things that really made protestantism distasteful to me over the years was the constant rock throwing amongst the various faiths and segments of faiths. It's almost a cottage industry. It goes far beyond genuine concern. I'm right, you're wrong pridefulness rules the day in that arena. I can't help but wonder how many people are turned away by attitudes like that.

If I need to tear someone else down to make myself attractive, I'm prolly not that attractive to begin with.

It sounds like you were burnt a number of times. Yes, it's true, the name calling and the tearing down of someone as well as the tearing down of other groups happens alot among the more conservative groups. In that type of environment I grew tough skin. But after a while one can get burnt out. One can get tired. One can get weary. And that's what happened to me. For sometimes I don't want to argue. Sometimes I don't want to fight! Sometimes I just wanna rest, relax, and do nothing. Sometimes I just want the Faith to defend itself. In the conservative protestant world, I always had to fight! I always had to defend what I believed.

And so I am not against showing why a group is wrong. I mean, we all can't be right! But at the same time I don't want to be mean or rude while I do it, nor do I want to do it all the time.

There is a method to the madness. Each group is gonna defend something that they think is true and each group is gonna critique another group based on how they see the world. There is nothing wrong with that.......I mean, that is what they are suppose to do.

I just believe that if every group under the sun can do it, then why can't we? Why are we the only ones that are not allowed to critique the beliefs and claims of other groups? Why are we the only ones who are not allowed to defend ourselves when other groups bash us? Why can't we defend what we believe? Why must we always be silent? Why can't we let people know that we are in Town? Everybody else seems to be allowed to let people know that they exist, but for some reason the same rule doesn't apply to us? Why can't we let people know that we exist?

I don't get offended when Mormons, JW's and others say what they say about themselves. I don't get offended when they call me Apostate, heretics, unregenerate, lost, unsaved.........etc.

I don't get offended. Why? Because, according to how they see the world, that is what they are suppose to think. A group should have the right to defend itself and it's flock.

But for some reason if I try to defend myself and if I try to flip the tables on them you will most likely see that as being a turn off. You will see that as pride, you will see that as rock throwing.


I'm sorry if you were hurt in the past. I'm sorry for the suffering and pain you went through, but there is a time and place for everything. .......even for the things you may not like.

If other groups want to put the label "Christian" on themselves and denounce us as being "unChristian", then I think we should have the right to show why we are Christian. The word "Christian" should have a context, especially a historical one. One that I think most groups(the ones that attack us) lack.

And so, there is a time and place for everything.
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« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2010, 10:02:55 PM »

I have no argument over anyone who believes that Jesus died for their sins and reads the Gospels .

 Jesus said to pray the lords prayer and any few who gather in his name , there he would be among them .

Mathew18 NIV
19“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

Should they not be our fellow Christians?


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« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2010, 12:16:32 AM »

It sounds like you were burnt a number of times. Yes, it's true, the name calling and the tearing down of someone as well as the tearing down of other groups happens alot among the more conservative groups. In that type of environment I grew tough skin. But after a while one can get burnt out. One can get tired. One can get weary. And that's what happened to me. For sometimes I don't want to argue. Sometimes I don't want to fight! Sometimes I just wanna rest, relax, and do nothing. Sometimes I just want the Faith to defend itself. In the conservative protestant world, I always had to fight! I always had to defend what I believed.
Maybe this is just my own version of my way or the highway. I want to be pleasing to God. I don't want to just remain stagnant and satisfied with just being better than some other group. I want to be as pleasing to God as I am capable of being. After a hedonistic viking marauder life I came back to the church looking for instruction on how to do this and just didn't find much of it. I was looking for the kind of instruction found in the Philokalia. The attacks don't bother me personally as much as they have been a waste of my time.

I will say that I cringe when I see Christians witnessing like they are beating the heck out of someone with a pipe wrench.
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« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2010, 12:40:25 AM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

"...why is it that Orthodox haven't been more vocal against the other denominations which try to speak the truth of Christ?"

The Orthodox do not presume to know the mind of God. Other denominations think they can speak for Him.  We don't.

But isn't the Orthodox Church influnced by the Holy Spirit? I understand we cannot know God, but if the Church is influenced by the Spirit and of the NT, then isn't that technically speaking on God's behalf?

Various jurisdictions of Orthodox have had their Crusades, and as you pointed out, we've been around for two-thousand continuous years, and we live in the realm of the Holy Spirit, which guides us across the ages, and so we are not stagnant.  God has clearly revealed in this time that Orthodox is no longer about targeted evangelism, Christians who live a good life and follow the Orthodox are inherently evangelizing in their life-styles and through the same Holy Spirit.  Remember, it is God alone who reverberates and moves in the hearts of people, not our own bible-thumping efforts.  We can share our lives, we can talk about the Orthodox, but we should never condemn that faith of others, after all we are all Christians here.  If we learn to worship in different flavors, surely God in His Mercy shall bring those to the true worship, but we can not necessarily suppose that others are not in it, we can only speak for ourselves individually.  The question to ask is, "Am I following the True Faith in my life?" and leave it at that.  If you are, surely that same Holy Spirit will inspire you at the times to do the things which must be done, to say the words which must be said, to see the things which must be seen, the share in the experiences which much be experienced, in order to demonstrate to others the Love of God which gets us through.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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Red A.
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« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2010, 08:07:04 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


Various jurisdictions of Orthodox have had their Crusades, and as you pointed out, we've been around for two-thousand continuous years, and we live in the realm of the Holy Spirit, which guides us across the ages, and so we are not stagnant.  God has clearly revealed in this time that Orthodox is no longer about targeted evangelism, Christians who live a good life and follow the Orthodox are inherently evangelizing in their life-styles and through the same Holy Spirit.  Remember, it is God alone who reverberates and moves in the hearts of people, not our own bible-thumping efforts.  We can share our lives, we can talk about the Orthodox, but we should never condemn that faith of others, after all we are all Christians here.  If we learn to worship in different flavors, surely God in His Mercy shall bring those to the true worship, but we can not necessarily suppose that others are not in it, we can only speak for ourselves individually.  The question to ask is, "Am I following the True Faith in my life?" and leave it at that.  If you are, surely that same Holy Spirit will inspire you at the times to do the things which must be done, to say the words which must be said, to see the things which must be seen, the share in the experiences which much be experienced, in order to demonstrate to others the Love of God which gets us through.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Words and attitudes like this have drawn me to the Orthodox church. Thank You.
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NW Nik
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« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2010, 03:20:54 AM »

This past Christmas eve marked the 2nd anniversary of my first visit to an Orthodox service, and January 9th will mark the first year of being received into the Church by Baptism and Chrismation. I know where the Church is, I do not know where it is not. I do know there are many sincere faithful people seeking the Lord who are more pious than I, yet I grieve and wonder knowing there is great hunger for the fullness of the faith. Very few will be won by confrontation no matter how gentle. If there is one thing I've learned these past two years it's that the Church is patient and steady and that all the virtues to be acquired must be undergirded with the acquisition of humility first and foremost. We in the West are prone to argumentation, the Church bids us to refrain from this passionate response an merely invite others to "Come and see" as we live out with faithfulness that life Christ sets before us. Just my 2 cents as a "youngster" in the Faith, I'm 47 and was received with my wife and 7 children, aged 16 to 1. I was raised as an evangelical and experienced many strains of the the same and was ever so weary when by God's grace Orthodoxy was placed before us. I'm home. Please forgive the choppy nature of this post, it's my first one and I have wrestled with this concept a lot as a former Protestant.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2010, 03:41:10 AM by NW Nik » Logged
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« Reply #26 on: January 06, 2011, 07:42:55 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Y0QbtsowHM

I think that about sums it up.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2011, 07:43:04 PM by Thomist » Logged

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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
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« Reply #27 on: January 06, 2011, 08:26:34 PM »

This past Christmas eve marked the 2nd anniversary of my first visit to an Orthodox service, and January 9th will mark the first year of being received into the Church by Baptism and Chrismation. I know where the Church is, I do not know where it is not. I do know there are many sincere faithful people seeking the Lord who are more pious than I, yet I grieve and wonder knowing there is great hunger for the fullness of the faith. Very few will be won by confrontation no matter how gentle. If there is one thing I've learned these past two years it's that the Church is patient and steady and that all the virtues to be acquired must be undergirded with the acquisition of humility first and foremost. We in the West are prone to argumentation, the Church bids us to refrain from this passionate response an merely invite others to "Come and see" as we live out with faithfulness that life Christ sets before us. Just my 2 cents as a "youngster" in the Faith, I'm 47 and was received with my wife and 7 children, aged 16 to 1. I was raised as an evangelical and experienced many strains of the the same and was ever so weary when by God's grace Orthodoxy was placed before us. I'm home. Please forgive the choppy nature of this post, it's my first one and I have wrestled with this concept a lot as a former Protestant.

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your first (and very impressive, not choppy at all) first post. Hope you post again. Wishing you a healthy, safe and blessed 2011, Carl.
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« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2011, 12:21:04 AM »

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your first (and very impressive, not choppy at all) first post. Hope you post again. Wishing you a healthy, safe and blessed 2011, Carl.

Thanks Carl,

Acquiring an Orthodox mindset is challenging. . . I have tended to react emotionally to issues that annoy/irritate me and am learning to appreciate that being guarded in my responses is beneficial to my soul AND my immediate family/friends, LOL. I no longer listen to secular political talk shows because of the angst that rises in me. My priest informs me that there is much to undo after 40+ years of heterodoxy and the excusing of thinly veiled passions. May it please God to continue the chastening process. Nikolai
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