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Author Topic: Exposing the Christian Fantasy  (Read 3517 times) Average Rating: 0
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orthonorm
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« Reply #45 on: March 04, 2011, 03:29:22 PM »

You could just tell them that God is calling you to go somewhere and assure tham that you're not losing your faith.

Not nearly as fun.
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David Young
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« Reply #46 on: March 05, 2011, 12:35:57 PM »

when should something be said?

The longer a letter is, the less likely it is to be read with close attention and therefore understanding. Also, there is a saying that "paper never smiles". You know what you mean, and the spirit in which you mean it; your reader may not grasp your intention in either. It is better and more courteous to deal with breakings of fellowship face to face wherever possible, though I know it can be hard. Not knowing your pastor, I cannot say how he would react to a face to face conversation, but your responsibility is to be the best Christian you can, regardless of his reaction. You should (in my view) speak with him personally, not by phone or in writing. There is probably little point in trying to persuade him of your new convictions, but you should make every effort to make it clear that your reasons for leaving are not personal to do with him, but are a matter of religious conscience. I dare say others have said the same in the many lines of the thread; but if I were still pastor of a Baptist church, I would prefer to be told in a courteous, friendly and personal manner why someone left, rather than being left to guess, and probably to guess wrongly.

Like yourgoodself, I find it easier to express myself in writing, giving myself time to choose and change my wording, but I have often found to my dismay over the years that this approach leads to people completely misunderstanding the meaning or the spirit of my words. I am surprised at the meanings they read into what I have written, but that is the sad fact.


« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 12:38:29 PM by David Young » Logged

"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15
tuesdayschild
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« Reply #47 on: March 05, 2011, 12:59:22 PM »

if I were still pastor of a Baptist church, I would prefer to be told in a courteous, friendly and personal manner why someone left, rather than being left to guess, and probably to guess wrongly.

When I left my Protestant church for the Orthodox Church, I informed the pastor face-to-face and thanked him for loaning me his copy of The Orthodox Church by Met. Kallistos/Timothy Ware. We parted on good terms. One of the church members tried to engage me in a doctrinal debate, but I knew that I didn't have a firm enough grasp of the answers to satisfy him. So I simply said, "I don't know, but I know that converting is the right thing for me to do."

To the OP: If you have your heart set on explaining your decision, then recommend to your pastor one of the many introductions to Orthodoxy that have been written by converts who have more years of experience as Orthodox than you have, such as The Orthodox Church or Becoming Orthodox, by Fr. Peter E. Gillquist. Buy a copy, and make it a parting gift. Anything more, IMO, will invite a contentious departure.
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David Young
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« Reply #48 on: March 05, 2011, 05:18:03 PM »

When I left my Protestant church

This sounds very wise, gracious and sensible advice. People will probably always convert in one direction or the other, but let it be done courteously, letting 'all our speech be seasoned with salt'.
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #49 on: March 08, 2011, 11:47:12 AM »

katherineofdixie - I understand your perspective to a degree, but when should something be said?


It depends on the circumstances. If a friend asks a question, then answer with brevity, gentleness and humility - "this is what I've learned..." and "I could lend you a couple of books if you're interested or send you some links to information I found."
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Maria
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« Reply #50 on: March 08, 2011, 01:20:23 PM »

when should something be said?

The longer a letter is, the less likely it is to be read with close attention and therefore understanding. Also, there is a saying that "paper never smiles". You know what you mean, and the spirit in which you mean it; your reader may not grasp your intention in either. It is better and more courteous to deal with breakings of fellowship face to face wherever possible, though I know it can be hard. Not knowing your pastor, I cannot say how he would react to a face to face conversation, but your responsibility is to be the best Christian you can, regardless of his reaction. You should (in my view) speak with him personally, not by phone or in writing. There is probably little point in trying to persuade him of your new convictions, but you should make every effort to make it clear that your reasons for leaving are not personal to do with him, but are a matter of religious conscience. I dare say others have said the same in the many lines of the thread; but if I were still pastor of a Baptist church, I would prefer to be told in a courteous, friendly and personal manner why someone left, rather than being left to guess, and probably to guess wrongly.

Like yourgoodself, I find it easier to express myself in writing, giving myself time to choose and change my wording, but I have often found to my dismay over the years that this approach leads to people completely misunderstanding the meaning or the spirit of my words. I am surprised at the meanings they read into what I have written, but that is the sad fact.




Linguistically, when we speak, 80 percent of our message consists of non-verbal body motions, gestures, and sighs.
The spoken words  only convey about 20 percent of our message.
We cannot really convey the truth without our eyes, facial motions, head movements and nods, and arm and body gestures.
If the preacher does not preach .... then how are we to believe.

And then we must consider the ambiguities in our written and/or spoken words.
Our eyes and facial expressions can help correct the natural ambiguities that are present.
Our head motions can also clarify what we are trying to say.

So, yes, a face-to-face meeting might be best, but it also opens up the possibility of a heated argument by one or both sides to challenge what is said. If the convert to another church is not strong, he/she might revert under the influence of a much more educated pastor.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2011, 01:22:59 PM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #51 on: March 09, 2011, 12:03:51 PM »

I'll openly admit that I am a novice to the Orthodox faith, and that is why I shared my letter with you - Orthodox believers - for comments. After re-reading the letter several times and considering the comments I received I can now see where it comes across too preachy in certain areas. The purpose of the letter is not to be preachy but to point out a difference. I am in the process of re-structuring the letter so that it is not too preachy and the message of my letter is not lost.

Even though I am a novice to the faith, I have been able  to recognize the blatant difference between Orthodoxy and modern Protestant Christianity. However, it wasn't until I was challenged (and not in a pious way) through discussions with an Orthodox friend that I began to think, "maybe there is something legitimate about Orthodoxy." Initially, my reaction to my friend was "Your crazy!" and I blew him off being offended. But, over time, things that he said to me would nag at my mind/my faith making take a closer look at why I was believing the Protestant view of faith.

Without going in detail, the underline theme of Protestantism is that the Church failed somewhere alone the line. By believing that, it undermines the entire truth of Christianity (as I was trying to point out in my letter).  In contrast, Orthodoxy does not share that opinion by holding to doctrines such Sola Scriptura.

I don't want the letter to come across "this is what I'M saying is right, this is what I'M saying is wrong", I want the letter to come across as, "After taking a look at Protestantism in contrast to the Early Church it seems that there are striking differences, why?"

Katherineofdixie as well as everyone else gave me some good advice about referring my pastor to a book I read. I think I will do that and not really get into mentioning Orthodoxy by name in my letter.
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David Garner
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« Reply #52 on: March 09, 2011, 12:17:33 PM »

Katherineofdixie as well as everyone else gave me some good advice about referring my pastor to a book I read. I think I will do that and not really get into mentioning Orthodoxy by name in my letter.

I've found "Introducing the Orthodox Church: Its Faith and Life" by Father Coniaris to be a quite good exposition of the Orthodox Faith that is accessible on a laity level.
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