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Author Topic: cradle Orthodox vs. converts...what's the deal?  (Read 4335 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 25, 2011, 11:18:05 PM »

I really don't understand the idea of some people being "cradle" and some "converts".  no one comes out of the womb Orthodox.  we all converted at some time in our lives.

at Orthodox summer camp, some "cradle" Orthodox act as though being cradle makes them somehow above us lowly converts. 

I don't understand this.  can someone explain this consept to me?

thanks!
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2011, 11:21:46 PM »

Some believe that being immersed in a specific culture from birth gives them a leg up on those who were not.
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2011, 11:49:27 PM »

"no one comes out of the womb Orthodox."

Apparently, they do. I understand adult baptisms in the Orthodox church were, for centuries, quite the rarity. Oddly enough, individual cradle Orthodox often have a fairly circumscribed view of the church and the Bible because their experience is largely molded by culture; i.e. being Russian Orthodox or being Greek Orthodox.

A friend of mine--a cradle Russian Orthodox--visited my church temporarily while her mother was ill, and decided to transfer to it because of the depth of Bible study our priest offers. He also has an encyclopedic knowledge of church history, literature, and custom--in several languages. She had never before been exposed to it, and she loves it.

Believe it or not, until about 20 years ago, it was very difficult for a convert to join the Orthodox Church because of the ethnic insularity. It just didn't believe in "evangelizing." ("Why do you want to come here? You've got your own church. Go away.")

Cradle Orthodox often belittle converts because they are too gung-ho and "observant." (No one likes a person who acts 'holier than thou'.) From the convert POV, cradle Orthodox sometimes do things according to ethnic traditions that mystify and irritate. In some cases, it has caused a considerable amount of friction and heat. As the Orthodox Church grows in America, this problem will doubtless resolve itself.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 12:00:06 AM by sainthieu » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2011, 02:36:39 AM »

Oddly enough, individual cradle Orthodox often have a fairly circumscribed view of the church and the Bible because their experience is largely molded by culture; i.e. being Russian Orthodox or being Greek Orthodox.

Cradles views are molded by culture?  So does that mean converts have uncultured views?
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2011, 09:29:08 AM »

So does that mean converts have uncultured views?

Well, bob, it appears that might just be the case...

« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 09:33:36 AM by sainthieu » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2011, 10:40:43 AM »

Read Matthew 20.

If you are ever asked about being "cradle or convert", answer by saying "I'm Orthodox by choice - just like you." If a "cradle" objects, you can point out, "No one is forcing you to remain Orthodox; so you are one by your own choice, just as I am."

I once heard my bishop correcting a member of our parish who referred to herself as a "cradle" while introducing me as a "convert".
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2011, 11:31:49 AM »

This is always a 'hot button' question and leads to a lot of silliness and hot air. Just as converts sometimes feel that 'cradles' act superior, some 'cradles' feel as if they are being 'lectured' by converts who may appear to be more zealous or attempt to be more 'correct' in their outward Orthodoxy. In my experience, most of us are just happy to be part of a parish family and worshiping together as Orthodox Christians. As, as to 'what's the deal', I would answer, 'no big deal!'
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2011, 11:32:46 AM »

The whole concept of "cradle vs convert" is ridiculous.  It comes from two false presumptions; 1) that your Baptism on its own saves you, and 2) that there are no Christians outside of the Orthodox Church.  There are people who were Baptized Orthodox as children and who have lived holy and God fearing lives.  There are others who were Baptized Orthodox that will not be seen anywhere withing a five mile radius of a Church unless it is Christmas, Easter, or some cultural event being sponsored by the Church.  Both are "cradles".  

And what about the "other sheep have I that are not of this fold, and them I go to also"?  What about the person who grew up in a Protestant sect where they teach you the Scriptures, and where through the Scriptures and prayer and love for God, and the understanding that Jesus Christ is his Savior, he one day discovers the True Church and becomes united with it?  Is he something less than the so-called "cradle" that comes to Church twice a year?  I know that this is going to upset some people, but I believe that what most "cradles" have against many "converts" is that many of them have lived the life that the Church requires even before they were part of the Church.  Having been raised in a culture that promotes separation between the Church and State, many Protestants (particularly Fundamentalists) have a healthy distrust for any government organ.  And what is the "Church" in former Communist countries other than another organ of the Communist State?  Are the KGB Bishops of the Patriarchate true "cradles"?  Those Bishops, clergy and faithful who died in the Gulags sure are!  But then again, those that survived and came over here are not the ones that I have found that have problems with "converts".

In addition, many Protestant converts come from a tradition of frequent Church attendance, at least every Sunday and even during the week.  They are used to attending Bible Studies, many on a weekly basis.  Many are used to reading the Scriptures daily, and some even have a tradition of morning and evening prayers.  Among the Lutherans that I grew up with, daily "devotions", including Bible readings, prayer, and a small homily, were very common.  Also common among them was education in Christian schools rather than secular schools.  Of course these people are on fire when they join the Orthodox Church.  They were on fire when they were members of their old congregations!  So, what are they supposed to do when they become Orthodox, throttle back?  I can tell you that I have spoken to many converts that came to the Orthodox Church because their studies showed it to be the True Church, only to be scandalized by the fact that the churches they left LIVED Christianity to a far higher level than the Orthodox parish they now attend.  And many of those people were also put off when they tried to help and were brushed aside because they were just "converts".

I heard a sermon from a Russian Orthodox Priest (ROCOR) who said the following:

We, as Orthodox Christians, have the fullness of the Faith.  However, there is no reason for us to be proud or haughty about it.  Because much has been given us, much will be expected.  An Orthodox Christian who bungles through life living less than 20% of his faith will be judged far more harshly on the last day than those heterodox Christians who did not have the full Faith, but lived what they had to the fullest extent.

Yes, this priest, too, was a convert - as was the priest who first brought me into the Church, and as was the Monk who is my Godfather.  Maybe what he said was not Orthodox (it certainly flies in the face of much of what I have heard from so called "cradles"), but I believe it.  That is why I don't worry about the "cradle / convert" matter anymore.  There are those who are trying to unite with God, and those that don't care.  Both the "cradles" and the "converts" contain both kinds of people, and a lot more that are somewhere in between.  When I run into another Orthodox Christian, I don't even care how long he has been Orthodox.  This is the Body of Christ and not a Union; seniority means little for your Salvation.  
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2011, 11:39:10 AM »

This is always a 'hot button' question and leads to a lot of silliness and hot air. Just as converts sometimes feel that 'cradles' act superior, some 'cradles' feel as if they are being 'lectured' by converts who may appear to be more zealous or attempt to be more 'correct' in their outward Orthodoxy. In my experience, most of us are just happy to be part of a parish family and worshiping together as Orthodox Christians. As, as to 'what's the deal', I would answer, 'no big deal!'

QFT!
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2011, 11:41:30 AM »

Someone Once Mentioned here ,that he had a cradle when he was a Baby does that count.... Grin
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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2011, 11:46:26 AM »

I really don't understand the idea of some people being "cradle" and some "converts".  no one comes out of the womb Orthodox.  we all converted at some time in our lives.

at Orthodox summer camp, some "cradle" Orthodox act as though being cradle makes them somehow above us lowly converts. 

I don't understand this.  can someone explain this consept to me?

thanks!

Just to make sure I'm understanding you correctly, Baptism at 40 days is qualified as "converting at some time in your life?"

-Nick
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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2011, 11:50:39 AM »

They are categorizations, "cradle" and "convert," and I don't find them helpful. Each has just as much chance as being holy or deluded or lukewarm. What matters is keeping Christ's commandments, and anyone can do that--without either experience or knowledge of the faith.
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« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2011, 11:51:35 AM »

They are categorizations, "cradle" and "convert," and I don't find them helpful. Each has just as much chance as being holy or deluded or lukewarm. What matters is keeping Christ's commandments, and anyone can do that--without either experience or knowledge of the faith.

QFT
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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2011, 12:04:17 PM »

Some believe that being immersed in a specific culture from birth gives them a leg up on those who were not.

Some think that coming to the faith in adulthood results in a higher level of enthusiasm. 
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« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2011, 12:39:45 PM »

It's a temptation of fallen human nature to create division by any mans necessary.
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« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2011, 08:27:57 PM »

Quote
"... If any has wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any has come at the third hour, let him have no misgivings; because he will in no wise be deprived thereof. If any has delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any has tarried even until the eleventh hour let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; He gives rest to him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as to him who has wrought from the first hour. And He shows mercy on the last, and cares for the first... And He both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering..."

from St. John Chrysostom's Paschal Sermon, transl. by Isabel F. Hapgood.

This thread reminded me of this. I knew I had only heard it a few days ago.  Wink
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« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2011, 08:30:07 PM »

I was baptised as a baby and raised in the church but still speak of my "becoming a Christian" in my late teens.

I recognise that I received grace at baptism and do not need to be immersed again, but I still experienced a sort of conversion in my early adult life. The way I see it, just because I knew how to cross myself and make metanias and knew the events of our Lord's life did not make me a Christian.

I would not be surprised if my experience is shared by many.
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« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2011, 09:11:21 PM »

There is something to be said for being immersed in Orthodoxy from the womb. I have four children, three that we had before our conversion and one after. The child that was raised on Orthodoxy from the womb seems to understand more of the liturgy if that makes any sense. She seemed to know even in utero, what was going on in the liturgy. I wouldn't say she is any holier than the other children, but I do think that she seems to understand more of it than the others. If you think about it, she had been partaking of the Eucharist from the very moment her life began! That is pretty amazing when you think about it. And I can't imagine that that had no effect on her whatsoever.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 09:13:04 PM by Quinault » Logged
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