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Author Topic: God, Neighbour, Self  (Read 701 times) Average Rating: 5
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Poppy
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« on: June 14, 2011, 08:06:45 AM »

Back in the day when Paul and Peter were about it seemed like there was a urgency to tell people about God. They travelled everywhere started speaking in public places and generally there focus seemed more like it was on people than on themselves.

You all know about traditions and the fathers teachings so, did it seem like that or was it like that really??

If so, there seems to be more focus on a persons self and practices that help that self de more disciplined. I could cite a tonne of different things i've read on these forums and there all focused on the person's self. I know, i know .... it's for God BUT.... it's still thinking about self a whole lot. Or seems like it to me.
(I'm not having a dig seriously how can i my life is my own lolOl so that makes me rli self centered.)

But in the commandment self is last. God, neighbour, self.

If that is the case and the desciples was more focused on people and getting the message out to people.... then how comes people don't know about Orthodoxy in the UK much?? How comes the ones i have asked say things like "Oh that's just for the Eastern Europeans" thinking it's just regular mainstream Christianity but EO style. How comes Orthodox churches don't do more to let people know that they exist and that Orthodoxy is different to other forms of Christian faith in that, it's the only true church??

Thanks Poppy

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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2011, 09:15:13 AM »

I'm only just becoming a catechumen but from what I've noticed from living on campus at a Christian university where there's TONS of churches trying to evangelize to the non-Christians on campus I think it has to do with the typical tactics used. I mean I've been offered free cappaccinos, ice cream, tye dye, video game rentals, and ect to go to churches. Quite frankly, I think doing that sort of thing is hard if not impossible to reconcile with Orthodox theology. Not to mention the fact, that often how churches get people in the door atleast young people is by showing off about some band playing or some huge video game night which cost ALOT of money to put on. Money which, is easier for protestant churches to have available because they don't have the monetary expenses of putting on a liturgy. Not to mention the fact that usually the bands are "contemporary Christian" or "Christian Rock" bands which again I don't know how you reconcile alot of that music with Orthodox theology. Plus, on top of that Orthodox Christians tend not to preach the repent or go to hell sort of message. As much as alot of people act like that turns people away really it does scare some people into the church.
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David Carroll
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2011, 09:22:04 AM »

I think you're right, Poppy.  Orthodox Christians should start proclaiming our message more.  But there is something to the saying "Physician, heal thyself!", i.e. we need to perfect ourselves in humility and righteousness before trying to get others to repent.  Even St. Paul the Apostle himself did not immediately go to Jerusalem or preach, but went to "Arabia" (presumably for desert-dwelling hermitic soul-cleansing, but I could be wrong.....do the Holy Fathers say anything about this?) first for a few years.  The Most Holy Theotokos didn't deem St. Seraphim of Sarov worthy of serving others until he had spent 3 years in his cell praying on a rock.

If that is the case with these holy ones, how much more so in our wicked generation?

« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 09:22:58 AM by David Carroll » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2011, 10:27:42 AM »

I think you're right, Poppy.  Orthodox Christians should start proclaiming our message more.  But there is something to the saying "Physician, heal thyself!", i.e. we need to perfect ourselves in humility and righteousness before trying to get others to repent.  Even St. Paul the Apostle himself did not immediately go to Jerusalem or preach, but went to "Arabia" (presumably for desert-dwelling hermitic soul-cleansing, but I could be wrong.....do the Holy Fathers say anything about this?) first for a few years.  The Most Holy Theotokos didn't deem St. Seraphim of Sarov worthy of serving others until he had spent 3 years in his cell praying on a rock.

If that is the case with these holy ones, how much more so in our wicked generation?


Beautiful post! Thanks!
And I love your current Avatar! I've been to St. Ephraim's monastery in Mea Makri twice and its been an incredible experience both times.
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David Carroll
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2011, 10:49:50 AM »

I want to go see his Holy Relics very badly too!
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2011, 01:05:03 PM »

In a big way, we are witnessing our faith to others when we are out in the world.  For example, at my work, I have some icons, at my desk and they know I'm Orthodox. And I fast. They see me cross myself before eating.  But, I can't go preaching to them because people don't like to be preached at.  If they are interested to ask a question, then they will be willing to approach me since they know what I'm all about.  But, people have lost their faith.  There's even one Greek woman, at my office, who pretty much expressed absolutely no interest in God.  Imagine!  So, even if they were baptised in the Orthodox faith, they don't care.  That's the world we're living in now.

And people sense a more sober approach to Orthodox worship.  Just looking at the icons gives the impression that this is not a faith that will be shaking tamborines around.  Anybody can pass an Orthodox Church and see some kind of icon on the front.   Even the RC Churches has an organ.

Personally, I am open about being Orthodox and my choices in everyday life sets me slightly apart from the rest and others notice that. (Not that I look bizarre or anything - actually I blend in).   My heart is always open for anyone that would be sincerely curious about the Orthodox faith, or in many circumstances, the Christian faith in general - since even those who get married in Churches are just doing it for the ceremony.

So, in my mind, I am reaching out to others about the Faith, just by being me.    Smiley
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David Carroll
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2011, 02:03:00 PM »

You are certainly a stronger person than I, Joasia.  I would be much too ashamed of crossing myself in public, display icons at my work station, etc. 
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2011, 02:28:34 PM »

Ok i have to watch what i say now as my posteria is being busted a bit to much recently haha....

David if you say something like that after Joasias post she might feel bad because shes not humble enough or something and i don't like that.

She might be humble and feel shame AND still cross herself and display icons anyway because she's putting other people before what she feels. I liked what she said..... she wasn't pushing her religion on noone but she was letting people know a really important thing about her.

But David if i worked with you for like 5 years and i never knew you were a Christian and i suddenly found out and you said that to me..... what you just said just now in your post?? I would feel rli vexed at you for that you put your own feelings as more important then the help i needed to get to a huge truth in life.

Can you see what i mean about it being to focused on a persons own self now??

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David Carroll
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2011, 02:42:22 PM »

You hit the nail right on the head, Poppy! I am indeed ashamed at the fact that I am ashamed.  This is one of my curses.  I worry too much what my fellow man (or woman) might think of me.  I still have this desire in me to look "hip" or "intellectually objective".  Joasia is able to look a fool for Christ's sake and I can only tip my hat to her for such courage.  (I'm not sure if my posts are coming out as sarcastic, but I truly don't mean it if they do.)
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2011, 02:52:32 PM »

Nope their not coming out as sarcastic, no worries.

It don't matter whether you are ashamed or not is what i'm saying..... do it anyways!!! haha... EVEN WITH how you feel

She doesn't look any fool for Christ (but i get what you mean i know the verse)
But if you DO worry so much what ppl think of you then you will man up huh?? Because if you don't give no indication ever then ppl will think your credibility is nothing. So that ironically don't support your position..... or am i not getting you??

But so what scares you about what they might think??

That your life don't live up to what you would be saying?? Or something else

(im not being mean i am really interested - there's things i'm scared of as well, different to yours but, there are some)
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David Carroll
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« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2011, 04:19:37 PM »

Well, Poppy, it's this image that I've tried to convey about myself ever since I was a teenager: The image of this hip, radical, iconoclastic (not in the original sense), intellectual superiority.  It's an image I've tried for so hard and so long to wear that it's probably going to take a while to be without it.  If I started carrying icons to work, crossing myself before meals, or - heaven forbid - express my recently found right-wing political ideas, this image would come crashing down within seconds.  That's more than my poor soul can bear at this point.
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« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2011, 05:10:17 PM »

Yeah i can relate to some parts of that. Thanks for answering honestly.
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« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2011, 07:49:05 PM »

HA!  I'm hardly a fool-for-Christ.  You wouldn't be able to pick me out of a crowd.  But, I didn't mean to sound like I was tooting my own horn.  Oh, I forgot to mention that my screen saver, at work, is a collection of icons.  honk honk.  Smiley  I just love everything Orthodox.

Poppy, I think you are very perceptive.

David, I hope, one day, you'll break through that barrier, in your mind.  You'll have so much peace within.  Come over to the Light side, David.   Grin
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The proper activity of the intellect is to be attentive at every moment to the words of God.   (Philokalia 2: p. 308 - # 30) - St. Thalassios
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2011, 11:56:48 AM »

Nope it didn't sound tootish  Grin
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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2011, 12:36:00 PM »

Poppy,

In response to "witnessing" or talking about the OC faith, ozgeorge's book to read each day has this sobering message:

Quote from: James 3:1
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.


In response to the command to love God with all one's heart, mind, strength; one's neighbor as one's self.

Many Christians parse this as one should love one's neighbor as one loves one's self. Well, there is commentary from EO thinkers and Continental thinkers that this is more of a sorta ontological statement about the self.

There is no "self" prior to the love of one's neighbor and God. We are who we are (human) to the degree we love God and our neighbor. Without love for one's neighbor we simply are not (human).

Back to how to witness, I think that depends on everyone's situation.

Only those who know me, know I go to "church". I don't want to trumpet my ideas or thoughts, lest I lead any astray or scandalize the OC by my words and actions. (I run my mouth here, cause I figure it is "in house" and learn by doing do and there are plenty of people to correct my words who understand the faith much better).

*Redacted story about witnessing*

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« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2011, 12:59:23 PM »

I forgot to mention that my screen saver, at work, is a collection of icons.

Poppy, I think you are very perceptive.

There is always something small everyone can do differently like screensavers or even wearing a cross or something. It don't have to be the same as other people. So yeah i think that's a good idea as well.

Oh and i forgot to say thanks for the encouragment.
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