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Author Topic: Changing Orthodoxy  (Read 18088 times) Average Rating: 0
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yBeayf
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« Reply #90 on: August 12, 2004, 06:18:18 PM »

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To my knowledge there are no parishes, save those within the ROCOR, who place men and women on separate sides. I may be wrong about this, but such has been my experience.

The OCA Romanian church here in Houston (*very* ethnic) does keep a strict separation of men and women on opposite sides of the church, whereas both ROCOR parishes here are very loose about who goes where, with the distribution of sexes being pretty much random.
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« Reply #91 on: August 12, 2004, 08:30:17 PM »

The OCA Romanian church here in Houston (*very* ethnic) does keep a strict separation of men and women on opposite sides of the church, whereas both ROCOR parishes here are very loose about who goes where, with the distribution of sexes being pretty much random.


The Greek Orthodox monastery at Kendalia, TX observes this practice.  It's the kind of thing that one may just quietly do in any parish without being "noticed" if one happens to agree with the custom.  

BTW, where in metro-Houston is the OCA Romanian parish?  All I knew about was the OCA mission in Spring/Humble area.  Thanks!
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« Reply #92 on: August 12, 2004, 08:43:53 PM »

And even with the Pater Imon there is no 100% agreed translation.  the HTM monastery prayerbook has their own translation as does ROCOR.  And some GOA (and other SCOBA priest too) will slip in "evil one."
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« Reply #93 on: August 12, 2004, 10:29:06 PM »

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BTW, where in metro-Houston is the OCA Romanian parish? All I knew about was the OCA mission in Spring/Humble area.

It's St. Mary Magdalene, on Canino road, a little ways to the east of 45. They are currently worshipping in a modified trailer home, while preparing to build a proper church on the land they have purchased. And again, they aren't typical OCA, but are *Romanian* (as in, the priest doesn't even speak English. Very nice fellow, though). I've heard there are also two recently-formed patriarchial Romanian churches in the area, though I don't know where they are located. One was looking to purchase a grand old Episcopalian church building in Bellaire, but last I heard the deal had fallen through, unfortunately.
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« Reply #94 on: August 24, 2004, 09:04:06 AM »

I see  this issue is very important to those who have sent these posts.

I would like to give you my oppinion.

In our race to become more like this or that we are forgeting the most important race, to become Godlike.

Brothers and sisters of the Holy Militant Church, the Bride of our Lord, it is your views that will kill others. Same, it is their views that will kill you. Do not do act so it is offensive to anybody, do not do anything in spite of anybody, it will not be Christlike.

What you wear is not a question of an Orthodox nature. It is legalism of the blind not a lithurgical, heavenly song and meaning of Orthodoxy that you talk about.

"Ethnic Orthodoxy" is like a root of your tree. But just like the tree grows the way it will and not like the root wants, so should you. Do not make people angry, but in the same time do not let, old (cradle) Orthodox dictate some things that are not their to dictate.

Listen to the council and compare it with the science of salvation. Cathecumen and convert knows more than many of the old (cradle) faithful. Growing in the fighting Church is not equal to wearing country clothes or ethnic uniforms. It is much more.

Talk to the priest about your problems, and find someone who will support you in faith and living (according to the Right Glory) who will be your elder and teacher in customs. In brotherly love make evil comments pass you.

Do not forget the pain of the old, the many suffering and deaths, the poverty and starvation of the root that you are growing from. It will be unfair. And what kind of tree would be ungrateful to it food giver. At the same time rejoice in your own discovery. It is on salvation of your souls that Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal has shown to you what is secret to many.

In previous days it was job of the old (cradle) Orthodox to keep the Right Glory safe and keep it for the future. Now,you are the future. You are the new Orthodox and it your job to show the Right Glory to the world.

American Orthodox Church is your cradle now. Make old customs new and show them to blind and thirsty and hungry in the desert of the new world.

May God bless you all.
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« Reply #95 on: September 06, 2004, 11:14:25 AM »

In my limited experience, the converts are the ones who want to wear scarves, discard the pews and electric organ,  grow beards on the priests, etc.  It's the cradle Orthodox who are wanting to modernize.  As a convert myself,  I did some reading on Orthodoxy before I attended my first Divine Liturgy and had certain expectations which were not exactly met at the parish I eventually joined.  We have pews, etc.  For about a week I entertained the idea of letting this bug me, but I decided phooey.  It's the Church and I am a grateful newcomer.  Who am I to complain?  And if I want to participate in Orthodoxy-to-the-Max there's a wonderful congregation of converts an hour's drive away where the women all dress like Bulgarian peasants.  This is also very very wonderful.  But I don't live near enough to that church to participate fully,  so I joyfully continue where I'm at,  beardless priest and all.  I think full participation is more important than fretting over pews and beards.

-Xenia
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« Reply #96 on: September 06, 2004, 01:06:41 PM »

I have found the OCA to be very very strict in not allowing organs in our churches.  I cannot speak for the other Orthodox jurisdictions in this regard. In fact, if anyone knows of any OCA parish ANYWHERE that uses an organ to accompany the liturgy, please let me know. I don't think one exists. I've even asked some seminary professors at St. Vladimirs if they know of any OCA parishes that use organs, and they tell me they don't.  Now, on the other hand, you'll find plenty of OCA parishes that have pews.  I see absolutely no effort being made by OCA bishops anywhere to demand that parishes that have pews remove them.  Their presence seems to be accepted. However, that being said, there are still notable OCA parishes that do not have them and do not want them. Occassionally it seems that all over the country when a new OCA parish is built, some parish somewhere will still opt to not have pews.  Regarding bearded clergy, nearly all the new graduates I've seen from St. Vladimirs and St. Tikhon's generally have beards or at least goatees. However, occassionally there are clean shaven priests, and this doesn't seem to get anybody upset. Regarding the headscarfs, I asked my priest about this and I felt he gave a very diplomatic answer:  He has that women covering their heads in church is a most praiseworthy custom, based on an apostolic injuction. However, it is not dogma, and we must not go around passing out scarves demanding that all the ladies cover their heads.  Just my observations ....
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« Reply #97 on: September 06, 2004, 01:27:29 PM »

Although I prefer a Church without pews as it enables one to perform the proper ebiences and metanias, I was surprised to find that in Greece there are some churches with pews. I have seen pictures of them in Athens. They appear to be small chapels.

Any other feedback from the old country?

In Christ,
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« Reply #98 on: September 06, 2004, 02:34:35 PM »

Dear brothers and sisters,

is clothing an issue of salvation?

I was a Seventh day adventist (brrrr) in Serbia. Figure that, i took me to travel 10.000 miles from an "Orthodox" country and a roman-catholic priest to become an Orthodox, but I did.

Why am I saying this. SDA are very much THE PAIN IN THE BACKSIDE when it comes to "what Ellen G. White says" (she is their Little Light, a.k.a. PROPHET) and SHE SAID ALOT, about everything. Short skirts, and pants, food and science and so on... Brothers and sisters adventists are the worst when it comes to that. But some Orthodox come very close.

As far as I can see, the issue here is not SALVATION IN THE CHURCH but COSMETICS OF THE FAITH (that  idea of a material mind whose problem is WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE rather then WHAT HAVE WE DONE ) and from these we got the good old issues like PEWS and ORGANS and BEARDS and so on.

I'll tell you this. These issues are issues of those people who know very little about the Faith, and who think that every member of our Church Triumphant, in every minute of his (or hers) life just thought about PEWS, ORGANS, SHORT SKIRTS and BEARDLESS PRIESTHOOD. Orthodoxy is not that.

If you have time to notice these things in the Church you are not serving.

A person comes to Orthodoxy from a dark world of heterodoxy and he already knows more about his or hers (new) faith than 10 milion serbs, I vouch for this. I am a serb and ill tell you that serbs could not tell you a difference between Creed without and with Filioque. 95% of them. And their priests do have beards, they do not have organs and their women do stand on a opposite side and pews.. come on:"we are not croats" (roman-catholics). I woud rather have 10 milion converts from protestantism in Orthodoxy who sing and dance in the Church around their pews lead by their beardless Priest, who was waxed 3 times-just to make sure, and WHO ARE CRYING BECAUSE THEY HAVE FOUND THE FAITH AND WHO READ AND PRAY AND KNOW, then.... whatever.

Leave them alone.

It is their Church too.

When all of you greeks and serbs and russians and others received the Holy Faith from the Holy Apostles and their followers, YOU HAVE ALL DEVELOPED YOUR OWN traditions. Look at the CALENDER, SLAVA'S and so on. And nobody is going to criticise you because you did it. It is your light and your right. If it is KATHOLIC (according to the whole) and if it is APOSTOLIC and if it is in the RIGHT GLORY then it is  CHURCH.

With or without beards and pews and organs....

Orthodoxy is KATHOLIC not greek or serb or russian. It is COSMIC. It is bigger then your village. Much bigger. Grow up... all of you. Not much time left.

Maranatha!

God bless.

It is easy to be a critic (see.. look at me).
It is hard to be a follower. (again see and look at me).

I would say that it is not my intention to offend anybody, but, that is just futile. Just watch me being called croat/turk/chechen scum. But hey, it had to be said.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner. I beg you.








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Tikhon29605
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« Reply #99 on: September 06, 2004, 03:13:46 PM »

It seems to me that the perpetual question of former Protestants is that if it is not a question of "salvation" leave it alone. How I do tire of hearing that.
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« Reply #100 on: October 12, 2004, 10:58:00 AM »

As a Christian who fellowships in a Protestant traditions, I am so glad to read that Orthodoxy is more than ethnicity; scarves; and pews where people can sit instead of stand.  As I journey toward understanding Orthodox Christianity, the focus of the Church has got to be about "going into all the world and proclaimin the gospel."  It is not a gospel of pews; beards; ethnicity or scarves, but it is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ - "for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son - that whoever would believe on Him would not perish, but have eternal life."  

When the world sees us as Christian warring against one another over such minor issues, it lessens our effectiveness when we speak about the love of God and love of the brethren; when we speak about God's work of salvation through the sacrifice of His Son; when we speak about being filled with the Holy Spirit in order that we might live a holy and righteous life; when we tell them that going to services and partaking of the Eucharist brings about a difference in our lives.  Can they see that difference when they hear us warring over issues that Christ Jesus did not war about.  We must be careful not to become like the Pharisees, when Jesus said "you tithed your dill, mint & cumin, but you have left the greater and that is love."  

When Christ established the church, it was not about ethnicity, though I value and cherish the diversity of cultures I experience here as an American citizen.  Our relationship with the Living God annot be rooted in these concerns; for if we find ourselves bantering about these things, we as Christians (Orthodox and/or Protestant) cause the world to look at us with questioning eyes.  Much like in Jerusalem, the war over who will open or close the door at the birthplace of Christ!  Different factions of Orthodoxy at war with one another over who closed the door.  Lord Jesus help us!

Scripture tells us "you will know mine by the love they have for one another."  I am not talking about compromise with the world or this world's system, but as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, and faith in our Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit, I would encourage us all to "seek those things which are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God the Father".  I am often challenged to seek God in prayer and intercession about "what is important to You? "  

I don't have all the answers, only God does.  At best we seek to walk in oneness with God and with one another in order to more effectively reach those who are outside the covenant family of God.

God's blessings be with you,
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« Reply #101 on: October 12, 2004, 11:30:10 AM »

HKelly,
Welcome to the board.  If I may ask, how did you find it?

Looking at your first paragraph where you said that "the focus of the Church has got to be about "going into all the world and proclaimin the gospel."", I refer you to the thread called "How to witness correctly?" or something similar.  It was being discussed somewhat last week.  Again, welcome.
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« Reply #102 on: October 12, 2004, 06:00:39 PM »

One of the things that I just love about the Orthodox church here in the USA is that most of them are small and very personal.  This I like.  As for pews, yeah, some have, some dont have.  Pews used to bother me but that was because I was new to Orthodoxy.   I still have a problem with attending Liturgy in some Greek churches with organs but this is their tradition (small t).  I do like the Greek festivals though.  You can have those mega-churches, give me the sweet secluded chapels any day.

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« Reply #103 on: October 12, 2004, 09:42:15 PM »

Hi Elisha:

Thanks for the welcome.  Proclaiming the gospel (or telling others about Christ Jesus and His atoning work is the mandate that all in the Body of Christ have--whether it is one-on-one, or in a congregation setting--sharing Christ with others is a work we all have in common.  There are many ways of sharing the gospel--I am a volunteer Prison Chaplain at the local Men's Jail.  I also witness through sharing the love of Christ with others; praying for others; visiting the sick; or just being there to share someone's story over a cup of coffee.  One thing that is important is that all we do be bathed in prayer and reflect the love of God toward a world that is in darkness.  

Since today was my first day in the forum, I am not aware of your comments from last week.  Having taught evangelism/outreach, I am sure that there are many insights we can share with one another.

Again, thank you for your welcome.  I am looking forward to learning more about Orthodox Christianity as I travel this Christian journey.

God's grace be with you,
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« Reply #104 on: October 20, 2004, 02:28:53 PM »

Some of these things, like beardless clergy, were in the West even before the schism, so I don't really see any grounds for opposing them.  To my knowledge, the tradition of not having pews/chairs goes back to the beginning, because it was thought disrespectful to sit in the presence of God and such. (correct me if I'm wrong), so that seems to me anyway to be more important to leave unchanged.  Head scarves, of course, are in the Bible itself, so I don't see any way to justify abandoning that tradition.  I think it's a matter of studying the traditions and seeing which ones are permanent and universal, and which ones are particular, and being careful to never change the former, and to only change the latter when necessary.
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« Reply #105 on: October 20, 2004, 03:01:59 PM »

I think it's a matter of studying the traditions and seeing which ones are permanent and universal, and which ones are particular, and being careful to never change the former, and to only change the latter when necessary.

I agree with you, though this is much easier said than done...and therein lies all the trouble.
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« Reply #106 on: October 20, 2004, 03:15:43 PM »

Quote
Some of these things, like beardless clergy, were in the West even before the schism, so I don't really see any grounds for opposing them.  To my knowledge, the tradition of not having pews/chairs goes back to the beginning, because it was thought disrespectful to sit in the presence of God and such. (correct me if I'm wrong), so that seems to me anyway to be more important to leave unchanged.  Head scarves, of course, are in the Bible itself, so I don't see any way to justify abandoning that tradition.  I think it's a matter of studying the traditions and seeing which ones are permanent and universal, and which ones are particular, and being careful to never change the former, and to only change the latter when necessary.

Good points Penelope, especially over such trivial things as bearded/non - bearded clergy. Ohh yea, I'm also allergic to pews. I'm kind of a stickler on that one.

In regards to the girl alter services, as I said before it's very dangerous because you could be setting them up for failure. Once some of them get a taste of being up there & serving, they may want to take it further.
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« Reply #107 on: October 20, 2004, 05:19:00 PM »

I agree with you, though this is much easier said than done...and therein lies all the trouble.
That's true enough, but I get the feeling often that a lot of times people don't even try to make the distinction, but just rather take up their accustomed position on the traditionalist/modernist continuum, then proceed to shout slogans at each other.
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« Reply #108 on: October 20, 2004, 05:22:39 PM »

There is also a historical sense of tradition. Something may have only come into use very late but may be a legitimiate development of the Holy Spirit.

Anastasios
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« Reply #109 on: October 20, 2004, 06:38:51 PM »

I don't have time to read through all the posts to see if someone has added the same two cents that I am about to, so forgive if this is repetitive.
It is not true the Pews and Beardless preists are not traditionaly orthodox. If one were to travel in Southern Poland, Slovakia (OCA homelands) or in Greece you would find that most churches in these traditionaly Orthodox Lands have pews. Some of them even have pews and tables laid out in front of them. Check out http://www.oca.org/pages/events/2004/09.September/0918CzechLands/0925KosiceSlovakia-LiturgyBpJan/images/DSC_0052.jpg

With regard to beards, you will find many beardless priests throughout Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine. In the case of Slovakia and Ukraine there is definitely a Uniate influence. But in Poland there has never been a strong Uniate presence, save the Lemko and Boyko regions, and still you will find many beardless priests.
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« Reply #110 on: October 20, 2004, 10:43:02 PM »

I think it's a matter of studying the traditions and seeing which ones are permanent and universal, and which ones are particular, and being careful to never change the former, and to only change the latter when necessary.

One tricky part of this is checking on oneself so that the reasoning is not holding to a view of "I like this so it must be Universal".  

It can be a strong temptation to think that one's own likes/dislikes/tastes are The Law Of the Universe (TM)

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« Reply #111 on: October 20, 2004, 11:23:16 PM »

I don't have time to read through all the posts to see if someone has added the same two cents that I am about to, so forgive if this is repetitive.
It is not true the Pews and Beardless preists are not traditionaly orthodox. If one were to travel in Southern Poland, Slovakia (OCA homelands) or in Greece you would find that most churches in these traditionaly Orthodox Lands have pews. Some of them even have pews and tables laid out in front of them. Check out http://www.oca.org/pages/events/2004/09.September/0918CzechLands/0925KosiceSlovakia-LiturgyBpJan/images/DSC_0052.jpg

With regard to beards, you will find many beardless priests throughout Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine. In the case of Slovakia and Ukraine there is definitely a Uniate influence. But in Poland there has never been a strong Uniate presence, save the Lemko and Boyko regions, and still you will find many beardless priests.
Weird...
In Poland I remember everyone distingushed the orthodox priests as the ones with the long beards and Russian accents[most Catholic priest IN Poland wear cassocks]? Well perhaps this was of my closed experience with Orthodoxs,because the city I lived had only one orthodox church  and it was the only orthodox church in the whole province[1,250,000 people live here and only about 50,000 are noncatholic!!].
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« Reply #112 on: October 20, 2004, 11:55:56 PM »

While it is true that a large majority of the priests do have beards it is certainly not true that a beardless priest is extraordinary. Further, I lived in Poland for more than 6 years and even taught at the Orthodox seminary in Warsaw. I don't know any Orthodox Pole who has anything close to a Russian accent. Most priests in the Orthodox Church in Poland do not even have a solid command of the Russian language.

Out of curiostiy where in Poland were you living. The majority of Orthodox in Poland are in the North-East of the Country with the County seat of Bialystok being the capital of Orthodox Poland where 45% of 350.000 people are Orthodox.
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« Reply #113 on: October 21, 2004, 07:11:19 AM »

If I  have not done so already, let me state that I am very glad to have your participation on the OC.net forum.
You are filling in a large void in our representation.

Demetri
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« Reply #114 on: October 21, 2004, 07:27:30 AM »

Demetri, Thank you. I am rather new to such forums and I must say I am a bit overwhelmed by all the posts and the depth to which people presents their ideas. I simply will never have enough time to get as technical as some do. My initial impression is that there are so many people posting that I can't imagine there being a void of anything on this site. What sort of void do you find here? Thanks again for the comment.
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« Reply #115 on: October 21, 2004, 04:16:55 PM »

While it is true that a large majority of the priests do have beards it is certainly not true that a beardless priest is extraordinary. Further, I lived in Poland for more than 6 years and even taught at the Orthodox seminary in Warsaw. I don't know any Orthodox Pole who has anything close to a Russian accent. Most priests in the Orthodox Church in Poland do not even have a solid command of the Russian language.

Out of curiostiy where in Poland were you living. The majority of Orthodox in Poland are in the North-East of the Country with the County seat of Bialystok being the capital of Orthodox Poland where 45% of 350.000 people are Orthodox.

I lived in Wojewodzstwo Swietokrzyskie[stare Kieleckie] in the capital of the province Kielce . I also know Podlasie is the center of OC in Poland. Bialystok has 350,000 people? This I have never heard. THe maximum I know of is 150,000. Anyways Poland should include more Orthodox becuase Bialorus and  Ukraina-west of the Dnieper- are truly parts of the Corona Regni Polonia-Crown of the Polish Land and still have large Polish minorities.
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« Reply #116 on: October 23, 2004, 02:16:15 PM »

I am attending a Serbian Orthodox church that just had its hundredth anniversary.  The priest has a very short beard, the whole church has pews, and no women ever wear headscarves.  All the men and women sit together.  I would say the church is made up mostly of Serbians born in America, with a few converts.
This is the only Orthodox church I have ever attended, so I don't know any different.  However, when they recently had their 100th anniversary celebration and three Bishops visited, and many other priests, most of them had long beards and wore clothes that looked very 1800s.

I have to say, I don't think this church is any less traditional due to lack of facial hair or old fashioned clothes!
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« Reply #117 on: October 23, 2004, 06:10:09 PM »

There is also a historical sense of tradition. Something may have only come into use very late but may be a legitimiate development of the Holy Spirit.

Anastasios
But don't you think that if a late development was guided by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit can just as easily guide the Church away from that development again?
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« Reply #118 on: November 11, 2004, 09:31:09 PM »

I wonder when we stand before God, will the issue be if the beard was long or short, or none at all; of if one sat and did not sit; or did she have a scarf!!  Lord help us if we find ourselves with such concerns.  I can almost understand why the apostle Paul took the stand he did when questioned about women with their heads covered.  In 1 Cor. 11:17 you hear Pauyl say "But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse."    They came together with a judgmental attitude.

When we focus so much on the 'dill & mint issues" we lose sight of that which Christ Himself felt important:  Issues of compassion, righteousness, love and holiness.  And these are just a few.  
I have witnessed something very interesting in the church - when we move from listening to the Holy Spirit, Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition, we find ourselves fighting over the minutia issues and stop seeking the larger Kingdom picture.  

I think of the scripture when Jesus asks:  "I pray when I return I find faith."  If we are nitpicking one another, where is the faith.  The God who has created us, and fashioned us after His image wants us to operate at another level--not pettiness--not bickering--not hassling--not insensitivity--not unloving--not pretentious--not arrogant, but walking in a manner that fully pleases Him.

Oh that the love of God "shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit; may His love in us abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment so that we may approve the things that are excellent in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ."  Philippians 1:9

Whether you grow a long beard, or I choose not to wear a scar (knowing that my hair was given to me as my covering)--may Christ find us in oneness, empowered by His Spirit, laying hold of that which Christ Himself has apprehended for us!!!!  Let us learn how to love one another, care for one another, and walk in those ways that please our Heavenly Father.  May we come to know what He has called us to do, and be found doing it when He returns. May we hold fast to the truths of His Holy Scripture; His precepts and His principals.  Hold fast to the writings of the patristic fathers that are consistent with Holy Scripture.  May we learn to walk upright before Him, always giving Him praise & thanksgiving for His goodness-His grace-His love-His provision-His care.   May we come to know (experientially)  Him, for He delights in His people knowing that He is the God who exercises lovingkindness, righteousness and truth in the earth.  May we grow to be so sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, that our steps, as well as our stops be ordered by God.  

I thank my God in all my remembrance of His people, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for every Christian from every tribe, tongue and nation of people.   I pray that we will learn not to judge one another, for Christ is able to help each one of us to stand.  

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.
Amen"

Elder Helen Kelley
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