Author Topic: I've lapsed.  (Read 3336 times)

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Offline Shiny

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I've lapsed.
« on: September 19, 2011, 04:38:35 AM »
Besides this board and constantly (and yes it keeps me up at night) thinking about Christ, Death, God, my parish, the Church, and quelling my ambitions I am utterly lost.

I haven't attended services in months, a friend of mine actually helped kindle the flame a bit for awhile insofar as me going to DL.

This isn't so much that I have a lack of faith, just the opposite. I would love to be at services every day of the week if my parish offered it, but I feel enormously guilty and pressured.

I felt that I led my priest on initially about taking this serious and "trying" to express sweeping "Orthdox" knowledge, when I had no time in to really develop. And another part of the guilt is my time away from the Church has cultivated an ever deeper longing to Christ and living as a Christian, something I don't think would of happened if I stayed with it and got baptized at Pentecost, according to plan. I would have been extremely burnt out.

The pressure I have is I want to send my priest an email (it's how we have been communicating) over my woes, despairs, and my lack of commitment to the Church but I don't find the strength I need to send something out to him. I honestly don't know where to start or what to say. I never felt I was properly a "catechumen", alot of it is DIY which for me I need some structure and discipline, otherwise I'll procrastinate until the Second Coming and maybe even then I'd need a kick to get me to repent.

Any advice would be appreciated and welcomed.

Thank youy if you have gotten this far reading my drivel.
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Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2011, 04:49:41 AM »
Not drivel brother. I appreciate your honesty and candor. I can relate to much of what you say. I am full of zealous intentions, but my actions and life don't come close to matching that zeal. I often feel stagnant, frustrated, and even hypocritical. So I don't really have any advice to give you. Try to find comfort in the fact that when you confess your need, your lack, and your unworthiness, you are very close to God. Our Lord came to heal those of us who are sick and hurting.


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Offline Volnutt

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2011, 06:53:53 AM »
I know how you feel, man. I'll be praying.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline orthonorm

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2011, 07:20:17 AM »
Fr. Soandso,

Thank you for all of your help in the past. Currently, I feel rather confused and think I could use some help. Do you think you would have some time to sit down together to talk about some of the problems I have been having?

Thank you for your time.

In Christ,

Your Name

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Offline IsmiLiora

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2011, 07:40:24 AM »
Send him this post?  ??? You just wrote it out. Obviously you will get a lot more talking done in person. My e-mails to Father are only a line or two but we usually talk for a couple of hours. He'll understand if you can't explain all of it by e-mail.
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Offline gzt

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2011, 12:51:42 PM »
Okay. Why don't you go to church this Sunday? Might as well start somewhere.

Offline recent convert

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2011, 12:55:22 PM »
Personally I spend most of my inner experience focused on my basic faith as I daily interract in life which clarifies & convicts most of the same ups & downs I have always had. At one point I had sought to acquire greater knowledge of Orthodoxy but have never been especially knowledgeable in anything & realized it is not necessary for me as long as I persevere, albeit often haphazardly, in my faith. I think if a person knows and can experience their faith basics (prayer, fasting, alms giving, confession etc.) then you can add a little knowledge here & there proceeding according to how God will bless you in this.
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Offline Gypsy

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2011, 05:20:49 PM »
'......... structure and discipline, otherwise I'll procrastinate until the Second Coming and maybe even then I'd need a kick to get me to repent.'

You are actually already repenting.  You just need to tell this stuff to your Priest.  I agree get there Sunday, even better ......send him the e mail and ask him if you can talk after Vespers on Saturday.  Then go to DL on Sunday.

One thing I am most excited about with Holy Orthodoxy (hey it's been just over a week for me now!  Two times participating in the Divine Mysteries...Glory to God!) is the way that confession is handled...it is so healing and caring and so lifted me up that I am very sure it is a true reflection of Jesus' forgiveness.  I'm betting your Priest will be very understanding and has probably heard a lot worse.

I also agree with 'recent convert' - don't wait too long to see if you can be accepted....the church may have been around since 33AD but we may not be...why not be partaking now of the Truth and the Delights of the Faith?  Having been Baptized and Chrismated gives you the fulness of the Holy Spirit in Orthodoxy - if we try to do it all ourselves - well -  we will fail every time.

Blessings to you, in all humbleness and gratefulness for the Gift of Holy Orthodoxy
And if as a recent convert I need correcting anywhere...then please dear friends chime in!


Offline biro

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2011, 07:22:12 PM »
There's never a bad time to go back.  :)

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Offline sainthieu

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2011, 07:30:32 PM »
Number one: This is not drivel; I've been having an analogous problem myself; i.e., obsessing about God and the Orthodox Church--reading the Bible like a fiend--yet attending irregularly. I vacillate between wanting to be a monastic and just wanting to walk away from the whole thing. It's been driving me nuts.

After giving it a considerable amount of thought, I concluded that I have no idea what is going on. (Good. Now I'm getting some place.)

My closest guess is that it may be a test of some kind administered to me out of the kindness of God's heart. Maybe it's a last struggle before diving to a deeper level.

Be that as it may, I have found some comfort in the last week by just going to church. At some point, one has to admit that one has rubbed one's brain on a problem to the best of one's ability, and it just ain't bearin' any fruit: one's only recourse is action.

So my counsel is ... go to church. Just go. Don't think about it any more. Risk looking like an ass, and request an interview with your priest. Just act.

Offline Ionnis

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2011, 07:59:13 PM »
I don't have any advice as I don't completely understand what is going on.  What makes you feel guilty and pressured?  Like others have already mentioned, I strongly urge you to schedule a face to face meeting with your parish priest as soon as possible.  I also encourage you to speak plainly to him about what has been going on with you and what you feel that you need from him that you haven't been getting. 

You have my prayers.   
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Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2011, 08:34:01 PM »
As a priest, I have to say that email communication is just annoying.  It means a person wants to talk to me, which is totally what the Church is not about.

You need Christ.  Just go to Church and let Him handle the rest.
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Offline William

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2011, 08:36:36 PM »
As a priest, I have to say that email communication is just annoying.  It means a person wants to talk to me, which is totally what the Church is not about.
Is that why my priest isn't answering my questions about prayer?
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Offline biro

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2011, 08:41:38 PM »
As a priest, I have to say that email communication is just annoying.  It means a person wants to talk to me, which is totally what the Church is not about.

You need Christ.  Just go to Church and let Him handle the rest.


You mean he doesn't want us to e-mail him? Then why does he post his e-mail on the church website?

Do you mean I'm not supposed to talk to my priest?  ??? I need help. I think I'm supposed to talk to him. I think that's part of what he's for.
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Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2011, 10:05:45 PM »
Email is fine for administrative issues, but it is a bit odd to be emailing people you can easily meet with in person.

His priest isn't separated from him by time zones and mountain ranges.  Talk to him face-to-face.

These days we are able to escape basic human relations behind a hailstorm of IMs, texts and emails.  It is impersonal, and I just think it is not the way one should address major spiritual problems.  If we could fix all our problems online, then our generation would be the healthiest.  However, I think we are in the running for being the sickest in some respects.

If you want to talk to your priest, the TALK to him.  Don't email him.  It is not the same, which is perhaps why the OP is having trouble composing an email.  Instinctually, we know that emailing can be a form of avoidance.


As a priest, I have to say that email communication is just annoying.  It means a person wants to talk to me, which is totally what the Church is not about.

You need Christ.  Just go to Church and let Him handle the rest.


You mean he doesn't want us to e-mail him? Then why does he post his e-mail on the church website?

Do you mean I'm not supposed to talk to my priest?  ??? I need help. I think I'm supposed to talk to him. I think that's part of what he's for.
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Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2011, 10:30:35 PM »
I can only repeat what others have said: Just start going to Church. You may be immobilizing yourself by overthinking. Just go and really participate in the services, worshipping God, following every prayer and response, and opening yourself to the probability that it will be a wonderful, uplifting, enriching and comforting experience. Open yourself the the Lord first and then you will be able to open yourself to your Priest.

Offline biro

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2011, 10:35:40 PM »
I don't know such a thing at all.

If he does not want to be e-mailed, he shouldn't post his e-mail address on the site. In my parish, it's a large enough parish that it's very hard to get in touch with him at all. Also, I can't see him during the week. I have a job.

I have a lot of questions and if I can't get help from him, then who? If I'm being a nuisance just by trying to communicate, then I don't know why I'm doing any of it.
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Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2011, 10:51:43 PM »
Even a telephone call is more personal than an email.  Don't you agree?

Seriously, if your priest is too busy to have a cup of coffee with you after work, then perhaps he should have another priest to help out.


I don't know such a thing at all.

If he does not want to be e-mailed, he shouldn't post his e-mail address on the site. In my parish, it's a large enough parish that it's very hard to get in touch with him at all. Also, I can't see him during the week. I have a job.

I have a lot of questions and if I can't get help from him, then who? If I'm being a nuisance just by trying to communicate, then I don't know why I'm doing any of it.
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Offline Shiny

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2011, 10:53:44 PM »
Thank you Father for the advice, I'll send something like what orthonorm outlined and see where it goes from there.
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Offline gzt

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2011, 10:59:28 PM »
I would think the e-mail is best used for, "Hey, can we meet up sometime to talk about some issues?" or for visitors saying, "Hey, I am visitor, when is church?" I wouldn't use it to engage in a lengthy conversation about what troubles you unless you already had that sort of relationship. That's just weird.

Really, just show up at church this Sunday. Do that first, then think about this other stuff.

EDIT: I see you responded that you were using it for the first option. Good for you. Hope it all works out.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2011, 11:00:33 PM by gzt »

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2011, 11:09:31 PM »
I hope it works out for you.  Hang in there.

Thank you Father for the advice, I'll send something like what orthonorm outlined and see where it goes from there.
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Offline Shiny

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2011, 11:17:42 PM »
I'm much better in writing than I am talking in person, that's why I like to send emails.
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Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2011, 11:26:39 PM »
Practice helps.   ;)

I'm much better in writing than I am talking in person, that's why I like to send emails.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2011, 11:46:35 AM »
I'm much better in writing than I am talking in person, that's why I like to send emails.

I communicate better in writing, too, but I also have a tendency to overcommunicate. The best thing to help you, I think from my own experience, is to keep going to church. Spend more time in church and less time in your head, if that makes sense. Knowledge is not necessary (and can be detrimental) to becoming Orthodox. Most people today are more than sufficiently educated. They are excited by learning things. This is good, but only to a point. When it comes to actual spiritual life, what is necessary is experience--by which I mean the accumulation of time spent in church and in life putting Orthodoxy into practice as a way of life. It helps to keep oneself calm and realize that one is on a journey. And now I have overcommunicated again. Don't be stressed. God loves you more than you know how to love. Go to church and soak up what's there.
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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2011, 12:39:22 PM »
Besides this board and constantly (and yes it keeps me up at night) thinking about Christ, Death, God, my parish, the Church, and quelling my ambitions I am utterly lost.

I haven't attended services in months, a friend of mine actually helped kindle the flame a bit for awhile insofar as me going to DL.

This isn't so much that I have a lack of faith, just the opposite. I would love to be at services every day of the week if my parish offered it, but I feel enormously guilty and pressured.

I felt that I led my priest on initially about taking this serious and "trying" to express sweeping "Orthdox" knowledge, when I had no time in to really develop. And another part of the guilt is my time away from the Church has cultivated an ever deeper longing to Christ and living as a Christian, something I don't think would of happened if I stayed with it and got baptized at Pentecost, according to plan. I would have been extremely burnt out.

The pressure I have is I want to send my priest an email (it's how we have been communicating) over my woes, despairs, and my lack of commitment to the Church but I don't find the strength I need to send something out to him. I honestly don't know where to start or what to say. I never felt I was properly a "catechumen", alot of it is DIY which for me I need some structure and discipline, otherwise I'll procrastinate until the Second Coming and maybe even then I'd need a kick to get me to repent.

Any advice would be appreciated and welcomed.

Thank youy if you have gotten this far reading my drivel.

It's hard being a catechumen, that's why they have prayers specifically alotted for them during the liturgy. Its is hard dealing with issues like these without the sacrament of confession, but realize that your first confession will be all that much sweeter. (that's not an excuse to go ahead and continue lapsing! ;) )

Get back on the horse and keep your eye on the prize, union with Christ in the Church.

Offline Seraphim98

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2011, 11:45:22 PM »
Why not take a bit of all the advice you've received.

Just start going back and try to have a word with the priest.

If you can't make it through the press of others, then try a phone call.

If that doesn't get through, or as a complement, drop a short email expressing a desire to make an appointment to talk some things over.

And, as for your desire to write an email, do that too…just don't send it. Use it to work through your thoughts, winnow out the rabbit trails, and focus on the more central issues.  Then when you get a chance to talk to your priest, your mind will be clearer about the things you feel you need to say.

Once you get the appointment/opportunity, expect very little of what you had planned to say to matter, or even get included initially..God will guide your priest in how to help you.

Offline mabsoota

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2011, 04:42:43 PM »
yes, u could write the email, then print it out and take it with you.
(unless it's 6 pages long, then maybe father will have a heart attack!)
i like yr posts and i pray God will guide u to get sorted.

u can also (note i said 'also' not 'instead') talk to a mature (in attitude, not necessarily in age) Christian from the church and ask for advice about some of yr issues.
i had great help from my friends from church at the start of my journey into orthodoxy, and it was great to get advice from people who were 'just like me' (not ordained, not having PhD theology) whose life was really faith in action.

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2011, 05:18:23 PM »
How are things going , Achronos? Did you get a chance to meet with your priest?

Offline Jason.Wike

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2011, 05:20:39 PM »
I'm in a very similar situation.

I haven't been to liturgy in quite awhile, I want to, I get ready some times, but something keeps me back... But in the end the only thing is "Just go." If you feel uncomfortable, go, if you feel guilty or anxious, just go. Don't even worry about sorting it all out before hand or doing it immediately.

Offline Jason.Wike

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2011, 05:21:30 PM »
Sorry I didn't see this was a tad old.

Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #30 on: November 20, 2011, 09:55:19 PM »
As a priest, I have to say that email communication is just annoying.  It means a person wants to talk to me, which is totally what the Church is not about.

You need Christ.  Just go to Church and let Him handle the rest.



 I found this reply perplexing, to say the least.  Aren't our priests' the shepherd's of our souls who have been given authority by Christ?  If so then, in a mystical sense, when we talk to our priest's, aren't we talking to Christ?
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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #31 on: November 20, 2011, 10:06:46 PM »
I'm in a very similar situation.

I haven't been to liturgy in quite awhile, I want to, I get ready some times, but something keeps me back... But in the end the only thing is "Just go." If you feel uncomfortable, go, if you feel guilty or anxious, just go. Don't even worry about sorting it all out before hand or doing it immediately.

been there. sometimes it helps if I attend vespers services, kind of gets me back into swing without commiting to DL.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2011, 10:07:03 PM by Ortho_cat »

Offline Shiny

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #32 on: November 20, 2011, 10:08:17 PM »
How are things going , Achronos? Did you get a chance to meet with your priest?
Yeah we talked over a few things. I cut it a bit short since I personally don't like to waste the priest's time (I know that's what they are there for but still). I told him I'd like to be a catechumen for another year which he didn't see a problem with that. I'm still taking baby steps which works much better for me.
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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #33 on: November 21, 2011, 01:45:20 AM »
How are things going , Achronos? Did you get a chance to meet with your priest?
Yeah we talked over a few things. I cut it a bit short since I personally don't like to waste the priest's time (I know that's what they are there for but still). I told him I'd like to be a catechumen for another year which he didn't see a problem with that. I'm still taking baby steps which works much better for me.

cool. thanks for the update

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #34 on: November 21, 2011, 02:46:55 AM »
Never idealize a person.

As a priest, I have to say that email communication is just annoying.  It means a person wants to talk to me, which is totally what the Church is not about.

You need Christ.  Just go to Church and let Him handle the rest.



 I found this reply perplexing, to say the least.  Aren't our priests' the shepherd's of our souls who have been given authority by Christ?  If so then, in a mystical sense, when we talk to our priest's, aren't we talking to Christ?
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Offline Thomas

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Re: I've lapsed.
« Reply #35 on: November 24, 2011, 11:30:46 PM »
As a social worker, I find that I do much better in communicating with my clients, whenever possible, in person rather than e-mail or even on the phone. When I see them face to face, I can see the pain in their eyes or visually see their non-verbl behavior that cues in my counseling of them. I am sure when a priest utilizes this with his own special charisms that  are given to the spititual fathers of the Church he is more effective in person than via e-mail, letter or phone.

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