Two Post-of-the-Month awards in one thread.
July's winners are Fr. Chris:
I have left the situation alone for nearly three years but i miss them and often think about my mum and how she is coping, we were very close. They are both amazing parents and have been there for me in many ways, though i don't necessarily need them now, i do miss them. I need to know what the terms might be in order to decide if there is any hope in a dialogue at all between us.
It's good advice KBN1, thanks for your reply.
Peace and love,
Love them, and love everyone else. If they have issues, love them still. Sometimes you may have to withdraw from them but do not keep the withdrawal a permanent state, which sounds like you will be getting back involved with them.
Also, look at a mirror and realize that you may also have some things to work on too. With love and humility pick yourself up and start getting the hard work done of working out your salvation through the grace of God.
and David Garner:
I'll start this post with a very important thing, that you might have observed already:
We understand each other as a greek man talking to a chinese man.
You know, the words I say and I use have a totally different meaning to you than they have to me.
And perhaps the same happens vice-versa (an exception is when I don't understand terms you use, at all).
Zenith, please forgive me for not getting back sooner. I've been quite busy lately, and I fear because of that I must bow out of the discussion at this point.
I quoted the above because in large part I believe it to be true. It is an unfortunate fact with Orthodoxy that we define terms differently from most Western Christians, and specifically most Protestants. This was a stumbling block for me on my way into the Church -- I was Lutheran, and my biggest concern was I didn't believe the Scriptures teach that you can earn your own salvation. I was fortunate to have some very good friends explain Orthodox soteriology to me such that I was able to understand we don't teach that at all. We definitely teach a different "road" if you will, but at the end of that road we are not all that far removed from Lutherans at least. We don't believe we save ourselves by our good works. After everything that has been said here, I'm not sure I'm capable of making that point any more clearly than I already have, so I'm going to leave it to the rest. I enjoyed the discussion.
I have found that some Protestants (I am not necessarily referring to Zenith, here) don't want to hear it. They are only too happy to believe that Orthodox Christians are guilty of the falsehoods they accuse us of, and have no ears to hear when we explain these points.
Maybe I am to easy to convince, nut to me one thing that seemed to negate these accusations was the fact that many Protestant converts were were devout Protestants indeed. Therefore they had to be sure that the Church did not teach the truly un-Biblical doctrine of "earning by good works". Had those Protestants initial concerns been justified, we would have run as quickly as we came. Happily I found, like many of my converts be fore me, that this accusation is nothing but error at best and false witness at worst.
P.S. As David said, I am going to be very busy for the next two weeks, and probably will not have time to to engage. However I will try according to the time and ability God gives me.
That was no small comfort to me as well. In the circles I run in, those who convert to Orthodoxy typically get the "he abandoned the Gospel" spiel. For us, I knew some of the men who converted, most of them Lutheran Pastors. In some cases, I could see some romantic tendencies toward the East so that argument was a tad more convincing, but in others, we had solid Lutherans who were just sick and tired of novelty and watered down Protestantism. And in those latter cases, it was pretty easy for me to look at them and say "I just find it hard to believe that they 'abandoned the Gospel' in order to embrace a life of works-righteousness and self-salvation so they could have a pretty liturgy.'" I combined that with our own observation, and pretty soon I realized it fell to semantics. We say things that Lutherans wouldn't say, but we mean by them very different things than Lutherans are afraid of. "Free will" for example -- in Orthodoxy our "free" will is imprisoned by sin, weakened by our corrupted nature such that we can want to do good but are utterly incapable of actually doing good -- that doesn't sound quite as "free" as one would have thought, and in fact we believe that even with "free will" we require grace in order to choose and do the good. Or, speaking of which, grace -- in Orthodoxy grace is not the unmerited favor of God, but rather the operation of God. Grace is not something God gives in His disposition, but a way God interacts with my person. Or "salvation" -- most Lutherans view "salvation" as equivalent to "justification" (as opposed to "sanctification"). Orthodox view salvation as encompassing justification, sanctification, glorification, etc. without dividing it all up so finely.
So if an Orthodox were to say to me "we are saved by grace when we use our free will to believe the Gospel and do good works" (we would never say it that way, but go with me here), what I would have heard as a Lutheran would horrify me, but what the Orthodox means is quite different. The best way to know what we believe is come to our liturgy. When I was Lutheran, I heard that as bait and switch -- if they can just get me to their beautiful liturgy, I'll fall in love with it and forget all about "the Gospel." Because that's what I had been told. But now, having been Orthodox quite a while de facto (and over 6 months officially), I look back and realize we thought the Eastern chant in the liturgy was weird, and we were put off by "Most Holy Theotokos, save us," etc. There's no bait and switch -- if anything, the Orthodox don't go to any real pains to hide what they believe. What you see is what you get, like it or not. But it is true that you cannot know Orthodoxy from reading a book about it. You have to go observe how the Christian life is lived out in the piety of the parishioners and the liturgy of the Church and the prayers of the Church. It really is that simple.
And August's winner is Poppy:
OH MY DAYS!!!! This thread is way confusing. I don't get what the difference is between something someone (Apostol) passed on verbally to the next person and something someone passed on written down?? ?? ?? ??
Both could be inspired and both could have bits in them that are slightly incorrect. Like if i told a person something and also wrote it down, they would both be of equal validity because they both came from my mouth?? But one went via James, John, Alfred the bogeyman, Cedric the donkey....and the other was translated from writings like letters and accounts and journals all shoved together in a book.
I don't come down on anyones side denominationally because i am agnosticish and unchurched but even i can see its all the same.
Please join the Admins, GMs, and moderators in proclaiming them AXIOI! WORTHY! AXIOI!
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.